As U.S. Warfighter stories conquer box offices, there are still plenty of stories left to be told and plenty of “A-listers” to help tell them.
Hollywood is no stranger to military and war films. Since WWII, when John Wayne and Audie Murphy charged onto the silver screen wrapped in the red, white and blue, and all the way up to Steven Spielberg’s “Saving Private Ryan, audiences have flocked to see the heroic men of the U.S. military in action. But what about our brave service women and the role they play?
The Army Times reported today that actress/Producer Reese Witherspoon is joining the long role call of A-listers to take on telling the tales of modern warfighters. Witherspoon’s Pacific Standard production company is teaming up with Fox 2000 and is set to secure the film rights to the upcoming book, “Ashley’s War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield.”
The book by best selling author Gayle Tzemech Lemmon is the story 1st Lieutenant (1Lt.) Ashley White, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2011. White was serving with a cultural support team along side of U.S. Army special operators in the country.
While stories about the special operations community are nothing new to Hollywood, with films such as “American Sniper” and “Lone Survivor” crushing box office records, what is unique is a peek inside the critical support roles that women have filed on America’s war front.
2011’s “Service: When Women Come Marching Home” was one such ground breaking look at the contributions of American women to the battlefield. The documentary film looked at the service of women and to the unique issues that they face when reintegrating into civilian society. (www.servicethefilm.com)
But Hollywood has been slow to see the drama and the heroics of women on the battlefield, and Witherspoon’s move may harken to a greater movement in the industry to tell these stories.
According to the Associated Press 1Lt. White was a part of the second cultural support team to deploy to Afghanistan. In an article released after her death her duties such as searching women for weapons & finding insurgents hiding using burquas as disguises and other duties the U.S. Army refered to as “critical to the mission but sensitive to the population,” were unique to female soldiers.
The story of the Ohio native who was KIA on her first deployment may be one of the first films to delve into the real and very important role that female soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and guardsmen play in the U.S. military combat missions and represents a significant milestone for military movies.
Not yet released, “Ashley’s War: …” is already an Amazon.com bestselling new release slated for launch just a month from now.
There haven’t been any other details about the film project released yet, but with Witherspoon’s Pacific Standard company and Fox 2000 support, there is a lot of reason to watch for this ground breaking film project.
Pacific Standard co-produced the 2014 film “Gone Girl.”