This is great news if you’re an American Revolutionary War nerd like me. Warner Brothers has picked up the rights to “Bunker Hill: A City, A Siege, A Revolution,” an upcoming nonfiction book by stellar American history writer Nathaniel Philbrick. The book is, of course, about the Battle of Bunker Hill, one of the early, bloody battles of the Revolution.
Even better news may be coming, if you want to see if this movie actually gets made–Deadline says WB bought the book for Ben Affleck, one of Massachusetts’s favorite sons, to put on his list of potential directing projects. Word is that Affleck has turned over the book to his fellow “Argo” Oscar winner Chris Terrio to write a draft, while Affleck focuses on his adaptation of “Live By Night,” the Dennis Lehane novel:
Boston in 1775 is an island city occupied by British troops after a series of incendiary incidents by patriots who range from sober citizens to thuggish vigilantes. After the Boston Tea Party, British and American soldiers and Massachusetts residents have warily maneuvered around each other until April 19, when violence finally erupts at Lexington and Concord. In June, however, with the city cut off from supplies by a British blockade and Patriot militia poised in siege, skirmishes give way to outright war in the Battle of Bunker Hill. It would be the bloodiest battle of the Revolution to come, and the point of no return for the rebellious colonists.
Philbrick brings a fresh perspective to every aspect of the story. He finds new characters, and new facets to familiar ones. The real work of choreographing rebellion falls to a thirty-three year old physician named Joseph Warren who emerges as the on-the-ground leader of the Patriot cause and is fated to die at Bunker Hill. Others in the cast include Paul Revere, Warren’s fiancé the poet Mercy Scollay, a newly recruited George Washington, the reluctant British combatant General Thomas Gage and his more bellicose successor William Howe, who leads the three charges at Bunker Hill and presides over the claustrophobic cauldron of a city under siege as both sides play a nervy game of brinkmanship for control.
With passion and insight, Philbrick reconstructs the revolutionary landscape—geographic and ideological—in a mesmerizing narrative of the robust, messy, blisteringly real origins of America.
“Bunker Hill” is due out on April 30th, and I am already ridiculously excited about it.
Philbrick’s whaling disaster book “In the Heart of the Sea” has lingered in Hollywood for years, but may actually be made into a movie later this year, with Ron Howard directing and Chris Hemsworth starring.