EXCLUSIVE: Bear Grylls’ production company The Natural Studios, the JV with Banijay, created Escape from Pretoria director Francis Annan to direct his first scripted film, a contemporary revamp of the count of Monte Cristo.
Annan is new on board to script and direct the film, which will be set in Afghanistan.
As previously announced, the project is produced by In nature with the bear Grylls producer Natural Studios and Ben Grass of Pure Grass (Turn) and Christophe Charlier (Race). The previous script was from Tom Williams (Kajaki).
The film will focus on the friendship and bitter rivalry that develops between two special forces soldiers who are sent to war in Afghanistan.
Grylls, who was nominated for an Emmy this week for Running in the wild with Bear Grylls, said with his production partner Delbert Shoopman: “It’s fantastic to welcome Francis to the team on this new adventure. We were captivated by Escape from Pretoria, and I loved the palpable, palpable tension Francis brought to it, and we look forward to him making a sophisticated thriller in style, telling that classic never-to-be-abandoned story with heart and soul.
Ben Grass and Christophe Charlier added, “We are really excited to be working with Francis and believe his ability to create cutting edge thrillers and scale makes him a great choice for this project. We are excited about the upcoming trip.
British filmmaker Annan recently left UK agency ARG for United Agents. Among his current projects is the film Five streets on a summer day, a period thriller based on the events that sparked the Notting Hill riots of 1958. It follows a beleaguered West Indian jazz musician who finds himself caught up in the riots in search of his mysteriously missing Scandinavian wife. Annan produces with Michael Auret.
Daniel Radcliffe and Daniel Webber star in Annan 2020 thriller Escape from Pretoria, on the escape from real prison of two political captives.