Butler, McConaughey and Worthington Take Thunder Run

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It’s been more than four years since Simon West’s Thunder Run was first announced for development but today, Freedom Films has announced that not only is the project moving forward; it has lined up an ensemble cast with Gerard Butler, Matthew McConaughey and Sam Worthington set to star.

Based on David Zucchino and Mark Bowden’s nonfiction book “Thunder Run: The Armored Strike to Capture Baghdad,” the film will be shot using motion-capture technology and rendered as a 3D CGI adventure. The book itself is officially described as follows:

In one of the boldest gambles in modern military history, just three battalions and fewer than a thousand men launched a violent thrust of tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles into the heart of a city of 5 million people and, in three bloody days of combat, ended the Iraqi war. Thunder Run is the story of the surprise assault on Baghdad—one of the most decisive battles in American combat history—by the Spartan Brigade, the Second Brigade of the Third Infantry Division (Mechanized).

Facing Iraqi forces dug into bunkers and firing from rooftops, the brigade punched a hole through the heart of Baghdad with a high-speed charge to Saddam Hussein’s presidential palace and military parade grounds. Many Iraqi soldiers fled or surrendered during the onslaught, but thousands of Republican Guards, Fedayeen militiamen, and Arab mercenaries stood and fought, challenging seventy-ton Abrams tanks in Toyota pickup trucks, school buses, taxicabs, Chevrolet Caprices, ambulances, and garbage trucks.

Iraqi forces destroyed the brigade’s command center, cutting off communications and burning a fleet of signal vehicles. The Iraqis also ambushed the brigade’s resupply column, killing two sergeants and setting fuel and ammunition tankers ablaze in an attack that nearly cut off the main assault column. And even as it appeared that the brigade was seizing control of the capital on the battle’s third day, a fierce counterattack across the Tigris River trapped an American tank company under withering fire and forced a retreat. With the shadow of Mogadishu hanging over every member of the Spartan Brigade, the capture of Baghdad was a brutal and terrifying three days of urban warfare.

Ken Nolan and Robert Port will provide the screenplay with The Graphic Film Company handling the performance capture end of the project.