Oscar-nominated filmmakers Michael Mann and Michael De Luca have acquired the rights to HUE 1968, a new Vietnam War book from Black Hawk Down author Mark Bowden that they plan to adapt as an eight-to-ten-hour miniseries, it was announced Monday.
Bowden has spent the past five years working on the book, which will be published June 6 by Grove Atlantic. It examines the Tet Offensive, which was the turning point of American involvement in the Vietnam War.
Huế, the cultural and historical capital, was the centerpiece of Hanoi’s 1968 Tet Offensive in which Hanoi sought to win the war in one stroke. Part military action and popular uprising, NVA infantry crossed mountains, completely undetected, to the outskirts of Huế while VC cadre infiltrated weapons and ordinance into the city. At 2:30 a.m. on Jan. 31, they launched a surprise attack, overrunning the city except for two small military outposts.
The miniseries will feature characters on all sides of the conflict, including a seemingly innocent schoolgirl turned hardened revolutionary; Jim Coolican, a Marine captain from Pennsylvania and future war hero; a math teacher from Hanoi who has become an NVA infantryman; and a pajama-clad LBJ.
“Mark Bowden’s written a masterpiece of intensely dramatic non-fiction,” said Mann, who will direct multiple episodes of the miniseries. “Bowden’s achievement is in making ‘them’ into ‘us.’ We are them. There are no background people; people abstracted into statistics, body counts. There is the sense that everybody is somebody, as each is in the reality of his or her own life. The brilliance of Bowden’s narrative, the achievement of interviewing hundreds of people on all sides and making their human stories his foundation, is why Huế, 1968 rises to the emotional power and universality of For Whom The Bell Tolls and All Quiet on the Western Front.”
We’ve seen dozens of Vietnam-themed projects before, but Mann himself has never tackled the subject before, and given the fact that he’s armed with a top-shelf producer and what sounds like strong source material, consider us more than intrigued.
De Luca has earned three Oscar nominations for producing The Social Network, Moneyball and Captain Phillips, and he recently produced the Oscar telecast that had everyone talking about its jaw-dropping finale. He recently produced the hit Fifty Shades movies and his upcoming projects include David Robert Mitchell’s Under The Silver Lake at A24, Battlestar Galactica at Universal, and a Barry Jenkins-scripted film about the true story of Claressa ‘T-Rex’ Shields, who became the first American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in boxing.
Mann has received four Oscar nominations and four Emmy nominations, including two wins. His credits include Heat, The Insider, The Last Of The Mohicans and Collateral, and he’s currently developing Ferrari starring Hugh Jackman as Enzo Ferrari.
Jeff Sneider | Editor in Chief