'Straight Outta Compton' Writer to Adapt Navy SEALs Best-Seller From 'American Sniper' Author
Straight Outta Compton writer and co-executive producer Alan Wenkus has inked a deal to adapt the New York Times best-seller Code Name: Johnny Walker for 28 Entertainment.
The nonfiction book that delves inside the Navy SEALs was co-written by Jim DeFelice, whose book credits include American Sniper.
The story follows the exploits of an Iraqi citizen nicknamed "Johnny Walker," who worked with the U.S. Navy SEALs as a translator, eventually going out fully armed as part of different SEAL teams and risking his life on more than a 1,000 missions over a six-year period. Johnny helped the SEALs track down terrorists and became a legend in the U.S. special-ops community.
When Iraqi insurgents targeted Johnny and his family for torture and death because of his work with the Americans, the SEALs heroically brought Johnny and his family to safety in the United States.
"Johnny is responsible for saving American lives, especially SEALs. He has an amazing story that I feel needs to be told and would touch the hearts of all Americans," said the late Chris Kyle, whose life served as the basis for American Sniper, before his death.
The project is being shopped to buyers at the Toronto Film Festival.
Los Angeles-based 28 Entertainment is already in business with Wenkus with the George Jones biopic No Show Jones.
"Johnny is such a unique individual," 28 Entertainment’s Brian A. Hoffman said. "He experienced and saw things that most outsiders never get close to, but he was able to earn the trust of the SEALs in Iraq and in turn they looked to him as a brother."
"Johnny's story is a cinematic thriller, and it goes far beyond what the book was able to cover," Wenkus said. "There are so many stories from SEALs about Johnny's heroics that are so captivating. I know it has the potential to make an amazing film. It's a side of the Iraq situation that's never been told. Johnny started out as an Iraqi citizen who saw the beginnings of the rise of ISIS and worked with the SEALs to save hundreds of American and Iraqi lives and possibly change the course of the war."
Wenkus was one of the two original writers on Compton, which has become a box-office hit.
This article originally appeared in THR.com.