Paul Greengrass heading into the Berlin Wall tunnels for real-life escape drama

British director’s next movie to be adaptation of forthcoming 1960s-set novel about west Germans trying to smuggle relatives from the east with the help of US TV crews

Paul Greengrass looks set to direct a period drama about a real-life escape through the tunnels of the Berlin Wall, reports Variety.

The Captain Phillips film-maker is attached to The Tunnels, based on a treatment for a forthcoming novel by Greg Mitchell which has been optioned by US production company FilmNation Entertainment. The plot will centre on the story of a group of west German citizens desperately trying to get their friends and family members out of the east with the help of American news networks in the early 1960s.

“Paul and I have been looking for a project to work on together for some time,” said producer Mark Gordon. “Separately, we have both been fascinated by stories around the Berlin Wall. While the wall fell in 1989, its consequences are still being felt today. We are thrilled to be working with FilmNation to bring this emotional story to the screen.”

“Finding an untold true story of this caliber is such a rarity,” FilmNation’s Aaron Ryder told Variety. “Greg’s proposal will make for a very human and cinematic experience. We have no doubt that Mark’s producing and Paul’s directing will make audiences around the world as excited about this film as we are.”

A German television movie on the same subject made it to US cinemas in 2005. With thematic echoes of the Oscar-winning Ben Affleck Iran hostage crisis drama Argo and the much-garlanded Greengrass in the director’s chair, the new version would be expected to challenge for awards season honours.

Mitchell is best known for his books The Campaign of the Century and Tricky Dick and the Pink Lady.


Ben Child

The GuardianTramp

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