Netflix has nabbed worldwide rights to a satirical comedy which will star Brad Pitt as a controversial US military general, directed by David Michôd.
In his follow-up to The Rover, Michôd will write the screenplay of War Machine, adapted from the book The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story Of America’s War In Afghanistan, by the late journalist Michael Hastings.
Pitt’s Plan B optioned the book, which is inspired by the colourful life and career of General Stanley McChrystal, who commanded the international and US forces in Afghanistan.
Hastings wrote a story for Rolling Stone, The Runaway General, which quoted McChrystal as badmouthing the White House and its handling of the war. He was ordered back to Washington by President Obama and soon thereafter tendered his resignation. Hastings died in a car crash in 2013.
The distribution deal represents the biggest investment yet by Netflix in a feature film, which is reportedly budgeted in the $30 million range. Deadline estimates the Netflix licence fee will equate to 130% of the budget.
It’s also the first time the US streaming giant has landed an A-list star after agreeing to finance four comedies starring Adam Sandler.
According to Screen Daily, Netflix is planning a limited theatrical release for War Machine before the worldwide digital launch in late 2016, which may encounter resistance from some exhibitors.
Michôd, who signed on to direct the project in February, then known as The Operators, said, “I’m humbled to be making a big, bold movie about the whole sprawling, complex, cumbersome and crazy machinery of modern war and the many lives it touches.”
Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said, “War Machine is a rip-roaring, behind-the-facade tale of modern war decision-makers, from the corridors of power to the distant regions of America’s ambitions. Brad and David are a perfect team to make this timely, compelling and entertaining film.”