In another bit of Ridley Scott news (our second today), it’s being reported that the “Prometheus” director is now attached to helm a fact-based thriller with Gerard Butler in the starring role and scribe Robert Edwards penning the script.
Butler would play Simon Mann, a former British Army officer who, after being caught smuggling arms at a Zimbabwean airport with a group of South African mercenaries in 2004, was convicted of attempting a failed coup against the government of dictator Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo in Equatorial Guinea. After spending nearly four years in a Zimbabwean prison, Mann was later extradited to Guinea and subsequently sentenced by a court there to more than 34 years imprisonment for his involvement. He was released in November 2009 on “humanitarian grounds”, receiving a full pardon from Mbagoso. It is believed Mann negotiated a deal implicating other individuals and governments in the coup attempt in exchange for being set free.
Evidence also linked U.K. businessman Mark Thatcher – the son of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher – to the coup attempt, and in January 2005 Thatcher pled guilty to “unwittingly” providing financial backing for the operation in a South African court. He was given a four-year suspended sentence and fined 3 million rand (the South African currency), though it’s believed by many that the wealthy political son was nakedly attempting to profit from the overthrow of Mbagoso (the African country is rich in oil reserves).
According to Deadline, the project is currently being shopped to studios by Mann, his wife Amanda and screenwriter Edwards. With the involvement of Butler and Scott, the latter of whom is also producing, it seems likely this one will end up landing somewhere soon enough.
Scott’s next film is “Prometheus” a sci-fi/action movie starring Charlize Theron, Michael Fassbender, Noomi Rapace and Idris Elba. The film is slated for release on June 8, 2012.
Butler will next be seen in the upcoming sports-comedy film “Playing the Field” opposite Jessica Biel and Dennis Quaid. It’s set to hit theaters on March 9th.