After helming The Gentlemen, Guy Ritchie is ready for something ungentlemanly with Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare, a World War II movie based on the non-fiction book about the black ops units controlled by Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Ritchie will write and direct the film, which is set up at Paramount Pictures and will be executive produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and Chad Oman.
Deadline has the scoop, revealing that Guy Witchie will write and direct Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare, a World War II movie based on the book Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare: How Churchill’s Secret Warriors Set Europe Ablaze and Gave Birth to Modern Black Ops by Damien Lewis. Lewis’s book tells the true story of “the top-secret ‘butcher-and-bolt’ black ops units Prime Minister Winston Churchill tasked with stopping the unstoppable German war machine.”
The book’s synopsis has even more detail:
When France fell to the Nazis in 1940, Churchill declared that Britain would resist the advance of the German army–alone if necessary. Churchill commanded the Special Operations Executive to secretly develop of a very special kind of military unit that would operate on their own initiative deep behind enemy lines. The units would be licensed to kill, fully deniable by the British government, and a ruthless force to meet the advancing Germans.
These were not your typical soldiers, either. Instead, the units were made up of “criminals, rogues, and survivalists,” lead by “Gus March-Phillipps, a wild British eccentric of high birth, and an aristocratic, handsome, and bloodthirsty young Danish warrior, Anders Lassen.” The members were also “amped up on amphetamines” and described as “renegades and sociopaths,” so you can certainly see why Ritchie would be considered a good fit for this material – he’s already made a bunch of movies about sociopathic criminal-types banding together. The Deadline report adds: “They became a very tight-knit group, and their work spanned WWII. They won important victories against the Nazis, breaking all the accepted rules of warfare in the process and using deception and even the bow and arrow to dispatch the enemy.”
Paramount scooped up the rights to the book in 2015, and previous versions of the script were written by Arash Amel, Paul Tamasy, and Eric Johnson. Ritchie’s work is hit and miss for me, and honestly, the misses really outnumber the hits. That said, this is a neat premise, and I’m curious to see what he does with it in the end.
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