Neil Burger, Angelina Jolie Teaming for Biopic about Major Mary Jennings Hegar

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Director (Divergent) is going to direct an untitled film based on the 2017 memoir , written by Purple Heart veteran Major Mary Jennings Hegar, and no less than is looking to play the military hero.

514QzAwRLPLProduced by the , the current draft of the screenplay was co-written by Alice O’Neill with Burger over previous versions by Frank Baldwin and Jason Hall.

Hegar earned the Purple Heart and the Distinguished Flying Cross after doing three tours of duty in Afghanistan as a rescue pilot, searching and rescuing hundreds of men and women from the battlefield. She also fought against the Department of Defense’s exclusion of women from combat duty calling it unconstitutional.

Nicole Brown brought Hegar’s memoir Shoot Like a Girl: One Woman’s Dramatic Fight in Afghanistan and on the Home Front to the , and she will oversee the project with Hannah Minghella.

This sounds like a great project and role for Jolie, if she chooses to come on board, because Hegar is an amazing hero that could give Jolie the proper impetus to give another Oscar-winning performance. Jolie won the Oscar for her early role in James Mangold’s Girl, Interrupted in 2000, then was nominated a second time for Clint Eastwood’s The Changeling. She was also awarded the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award a few years back. In recent years, Jolie has gone behind the camera to direct a number of films including the film First They Killed My Father.

O’Neill and Burger previously collaborated on the Showtime series Billions, on which O’Neill is a story editor and Burger is exec. producer on the show after directing the first two episodes. They also co-wrote the screenplay Tara Delaney, which Burger also intends to direct.

Most recently, Burger directed the Kevin Hart-Bryan Cranston comedy The Upside, which is a remake of the hit French film The Intouchables. The film premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and was going to be released by the Weinstein Company next month, but the film is now caught up in the bankruptcy faced by the company following the assault charges leveled against founder Harvey Weinstein.

Other films in Burger’s filmography include the acclaimed The Illusionist, starring Edward Norton, and the Bradley Cooper sci-fi drama Limitless, which led to the CBS drama of the same name. More importantly, Burger directed the military drama The Lucky Ones, starring Tim Robbins, Rachel McAdams and Michael Peña in 2008, which is more in line with what is needed for the Hegar story. Burger is represented by and .

Repped by  and the , O’Neill also wrote the Black List script Buttercup.

This project was initially reported on by Variety.

  | East Coast Editor
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