Netflix has acquired the rights to the highly anticipated Jadotville film starring Jamie Dornan.
The war thriller, co-starring French star Guillaume Canet, is due to begin shooting in Ireland and South Africa next month and is set to premiere on the web streaming service in 2016.
Based on the book of the same name by Declan Power, the film details the controversial 1961 siege where 150 Irish UN troops in the Congo, who were mainly from Westmeath, were attacked by 3,000 troops loyal to the Katangese Prime Minister Moise Tshombe.
Dornan will play the Athlone-based Comdt Patrick Quinlan and Canet will play a French commander.
The Irish troops bravely fought the rebels, led by French and Belgian mercenaries working for mining companies, for a total of six days until their ammunition and supplies had been exhausted and Comdt Quinlan took the decision that they could not continue without loss of life.
On arrival home, however, those who fought in Jadotville and were kept as prisoners for a month afterwards, were made to feel inferior in the army.
Horseleap resident John Gorman, who fought in the siege of Jadotville, and has led a longstanding campaign for those who were there to be recognised by the army, said he is delighted the story is heading for the silver screen.
He is set to act as an advisor on the production, which is due to begin filming in mid-April.
“I started the whole thing (to get Jadotville soldiers recognised) I suppose, so it’s wonderful closure to it with a film,” Mr Gorman said.
“It’s starting in mid-April and that’s not far away. It’s being filmed in Ireland and South Africa. I’ll just help out in whatever way I can,” the former soldier said of his advisor role, adding that people laughed at him when he said many years ago that the story would end up on the silver screen and now it is, which is brilliant for the survivors of Jadotville and their families.
He previously said many of those who fought in Jadotville died young and those who lived on endured 50 years of suffering until they were vindicated and recognised by former Defence Minister, Willie O’Dea.
“The story of how Pat Quinlan led his troops against an overwhelming force without losing a single man is one of the great stories of the 20th century, and we are proud to be working with such a talented and committed team to bring it to life,” Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said in a statement following the acquisition of the film recently.
“This film will be an amazing addition to our global original films initiative.”
First time director Richie Smyth will be at the helm of Jadotville, alongside producer Alan Moloney for Parallel Films. The screenplay was written by Kevin Brodbin.
He hailed the film deal as a great way for more people worldwide to see this heroic story.
“As filmmakers, we are constantly looking for new ways to bring a movie to the largest possible audience. Netflix has already reinvented the TV market and is now moving front and centre into the film business. We are proud and excited to be part of their story and innovation,” concluded the director.