FremantleMedia Intl to give 'Lawrence of Arabia' the small screen treatment

FremantleMedia Intl to give 'Lawrence of Arabia' the small screen treatment

MUMBAI: First there was an Oscar winning film in the 1960s called ?Lawrence of Arabia?. Now television format creator and distributor FremantleMedia International has announced the development of a six hour event mini-series based on the story of Lawrence of Arabia.

The epic drama will be produced by film director and producer Roland Emmerich ?Independence Day? along with Marc Frydman ?Straw Dogs? and Rod Lurie ?The Contender?. It will be written by screenwriter Clive Bradley and Lurie.

Michael Korda, the biographer whose works include ?Ike?, ?Ulysses S. Grant?, and ?Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia? will be the official historical consultant on the project. Michael Korda and the Korda family have for a long time been associated with filmmaking in the UK and worldwide.

CEO David Ellender said, "T.E. Lawrence was undoubtedly one of the greatest military and political strategists of our time and a stunningly intrepid Englishman who tried to unite the Arab world. The heritage of this story is fascinating - beyond the historical element, it?s a personal tale of emotional turmoil, identity crisis, conflicting loyalties and individual brilliance. The Middle East and Arab Spring as we know them today are linked to Lawrence?s actions, which make this epic incredibly topical. I am delighted that we are working with partners of such high caliber to bring this project to the screen."

The production will centre on the heroic journey of the British Army officer T.E. Lawrence who became famous as Lawrence of Arabia owing to his role with Arab leaders during World War I. His story was recreated in the earlier mentioned 1962 film of the same name, widely considered as one of the most influential in the history of cinema.

An exceptional diplomat, Lawrence?s ability to influence and win the trust of the most senior of leaders made him an invaluable resource both for his native Britain and for the Arab insurgents he fought with in the war against the Ottoman Empire - it also made him a sworn enemy of the Turks who placed a bounty on his head. He was a powerful communicator, able to galvanise the support of others, speaking fluently in Arabic to convince an otherwise disparate group of insurgents to co-ordinate their efforts in line with British strategy. His aptitude for strategic warfare led his allies to capture the town of Aqaba and the Tafilah region, before ultimately enforcing the Ottoman Empire?s surrender of Damascus. His uniquely complex character and the scope of his life make him a fascinating topic with no equivalent in modern times.

This new show is part of FremantleMedia International?s global drama strategy. The company?s aim is to deliver film-scale, epic dramas through partnerships with writers, producers, creators and directors worldwide.

The company recently announced that it will partner with Hollywood writer Craig Pearce ?Moulin Rouge? and Pukeko Pictures to develop ?The Maid?, a story based on Joan of Arc; and with Marshall Herskovitz ?The Last Samurai? to develop a drama series inspired by the popular non-fiction book Hitlerland by Andrew Nagorski.

Working with Headline Pictures and film director Ridley Scott?s production company Scott Free Productions, FremantleMedia International is developing ?The Drivers?, a series based on the high-octane 24-hour motor race in Le Mans during the 1950s-1960s, which is being written by Michael Hirst ?The Tudors?. The company is also working with UK producer Paul Abbott ?Shameless? to adapt the French drama ?Les Revenants? (w/t They Came Back) for English speaking audiences.