‘World War Z’ Writer Makes Directing Debut on Fact-Based ‘Mosul,’ Shot in Secret in Morocco

Screenwriter Matthew Michael Carnahan (“The Kingdom,” “World War Z”) is making his directorial debut with “Mosul,” a film about a SWAT team’s desperate fight to rid the Iraq city of ISIS militants that shot in secret in Morocco last spring with a local cast.

“Mosul,” for which Carnahan wrote the screenplay, explores the true story of an elite police unit made up almost entirely of native sons of Mosul who fought to liberate the city from 6,000 ISIS militants.

The film is based on a New Yorker story by Luke Mogelson, who embedded with the unit for two months and documented the team’s fight, block by block, to destroy ISIS.

Produced by AGBO and Condé Nast Entertainment, the film was shot on location in Marrakech, Morocco this past spring. The film, shot by Academy Award-winning “Avatar” cinematographer Mauro Fiore, is now in postproduction in Los Angeles.

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“Our writer/director Matthew Michael Carnahan was the perfect artist to depict this uniquely regional story which champions a culture that has never really been championed on screen before,” producers Joe and Anthony Russo said in a statement. “The heart of the movie depicts the innate desire to fight for country and home.”

The Russos said “Mosul” extends their commitment to producing auteur-driven films of social importance.

Anthony and Joe Russo serve as producers for the brothers’ AGBO production shingle, along with the company’s president of production Mike Larocca. Condé Nast Entertainment’s Jeremy Steckler (“The Old Man and the Gun,” “Only the Brave”) will also produce, as well as Spotify’s Dawn Ostroff (“The Old Man and the Gun,” “Only the Brave”).

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Executive producers for “Mosul” are  Todd Makurath, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely for AGBO, along with Mohamed Al-Daradji (“Son of Babylon”), Patrick Newall (Anon) and Wang Zhongjun, Wang Zhonglei and Felice Bee from Huayi Brothers Media.

“Mosul” features a cast drawn from the Middle East, North Africa and the Iraqi diaspora. Producers described it as the flip side of “American Sniper”: these being the soldiers for whom the only way home was by fighting to re-claim it.

Worldwide sales will be represented by Endeavor Content at AFM.

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Screenwriter Matthew Michael Carnahan (“The Kingdom,” “World War Z”) is making his directorial debut with “Mosul,” a film about a SWAT team’s desperate fight to rid the Iraq city of ISIS militants that shot in secret in Morocco last spring with a local cast.

“Mosul,” for which Carnahan wrote the screenplay, explores the true story of an elite police unit made up almost entirely of native sons of Mosul who fought to liberate the city from 6,000 ISIS militants.

The film is based on a New Yorker story by Luke Mogelson, who embedded with the unit for two months and documented the team’s fight, block by block, to destroy ISIS.

Produced by AGBO and Condé Nast Entertainment, the film was shot on location in Marrakech, Morocco this past spring. The film, shot by Academy Award-winning “Avatar” cinematographer Mauro Fiore, is now in postproduction in Los Angeles.

“Our writer/director Matthew Michael Carnahan was the perfect artist to depict this uniquely regional story which champions a culture that has never really been championed on screen before,” producers Joe and Anthony Russo said in a statement. “The heart of the movie depicts the innate desire to fight for country and home.”

The Russos said “Mosul” extends their commitment to producing auteur-driven films of social importance.

Anthony and Joe Russo serve as producers for the brothers’ AGBO production shingle, along with the company’s president of production Mike Larocca. Condé Nast Entertainment’s Jeremy Steckler (“The Old Man and the Gun,” “Only the Brave”) will also produce, as well as Spotify’s Dawn Ostroff (“The Old Man and the Gun,” “Only the Brave”).

Executive producers for “Mosul” are  Todd Makurath, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely for AGBO, along with Mohamed Al-Daradji (“Son of Babylon”), Patrick Newall (Anon) and Wang Zhongjun, Wang Zhonglei and Felice Bee from Huayi Brothers Media.

“Mosul” features a cast drawn from the Middle East, North Africa and the Iraqi diaspora. Producers described it as the flip side of “American Sniper”: these being the soldiers for whom the only way home was by fighting to re-claim it.

Worldwide sales will be represented by Endeavor Content at AFM.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Mel Gibson Joins Charlie Hunnam Action Film 'Waldo'

Dev Patel to Make Directorial Debut With Action Film 'Monkey Man'

HBO Picks Up 'Icebox' Feature About 12-Year-Old Honduran Seeking Asylum in US

‘World War Z’ Sequel Update: Producers Confirm David Fincher and Brad Pitt Will Kick Off Filming in Summer 2019

Production will begin six years after Paramount released the original “World War Z” in theaters nationwide.

World War Z” is finally gearing up to start production on the long-awaited sequel, or at least that’s the latest update provided by the film’s producers Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner. The producing duo confirmed to Variety on the “Beautiful Boy” red carpet that not only is David Fincher still attached to direct Brad Pitt in the film, but also cameras will start rolling in June 2019. The summer production most likely means the sequel is heading for a 2020 release.

Marc Forster directed the original “World War Z,” which Paramount Pictures released in theaters during summer 2013. The movie was based on Max Brooks’ 2006 novel of the same name and starred Brad Pitt as a former UN employee who travels the globe to find a cure to stop a massive zombie pandemic. Pitt is confirmed to reprise his role, but the jury is still out on whether or not other cast members like Mireille Enos will return for the sequel.

News broke about Fincher joining the sequel as director back in April 2017, but updates on the movie have been scarce. Fincher stepped in to replace J. A. Bayona on the sequel after he left to direct “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.”

As Collider notes, kicking off production on the new “World War Z” in June 2019 aligns with Fincher’s schedule, as he’s filming the second season of Netflix’s “Mindhunter” through the end of 2018 and will spend much of the first quarter of 2019 working on post-production. Pitt, meanwhile, is currently filming Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” but has no new acting projects confirmed for 2019.

The “World War Z” sequel will reunite Fincher and Pitt after films such as “Fight Club” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” Listen to producers Gardner and Kleiner tease the movie in the video below.

‘World War Z’ Game Trailer Highlights Groupthink of Terrifying Undead

The latest trailer for upcoming zombie infestation game “World War Z” highlights just how different this particular breed of the undead will be compared to the slew of ambling monstrosities that came before them. Like the movie upon which i…

The latest trailer for upcoming zombie infestation game “World War Z” highlights just how different this particular breed of the undead will be compared to the slew of ambling monstrosities that came before them. Like the movie upon which it is based, Saber Interactive’s zombies don’t just amble toward their enemies, they sprint and behave […]

‘World War Z’ Tells New Stories Within the Film’s Universe

Video game movie adaptations have a terrible lineage of rushed products that were either boring or just broken. That’s what makes “World War Z” so unusual: It’s coming out nearly six years after the film. Released in 2013 with Brad Pitt in the lead rol…

Video game movie adaptations have a terrible lineage of rushed products that were either boring or just broken. That’s what makes “World War Z” so unusual: It’s coming out nearly six years after the film. Released in 2013 with Brad Pitt in the lead role, the movie “World War Z” was a financial success, grossing […]

David Fincher will make another season of Mindhunter before World War Z 2 

David Fincher’s World War Z was a fairly big hit, but Fincher, Paramount, and original star Brad Pitt have had a surprisingly difficult time getting a sequel off the ground.For one thing, the original came out in 2013—which is like 12 Marvel movies ago…

David Fincher’s World War Z was a fairly big hit, but Fincher, Paramount, and original star Brad Pitt have had a surprisingly difficult time getting a sequel off the ground.For one thing, the original came out in 2013—which is like 12 Marvel movies ago, if that’s how you keep track of time—and the sequel burned…

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David Fincher says the World War Z sequel isn’t dead yet 

Showing the same resilience of a reanimated corpse, a sequel to 2013's World War Z is still kicking around. This, despite an onslaught of bad news, including preproduction squabbles between Brad Pitt and the screenwriters, departing directors, as well as the film’s removal from Paramount’s upcoming releases. But fear…

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Showing the same resilience of a reanimated corpse, a sequel to 2013's World War Z is still kicking around. This, despite an onslaught of bad news, including preproduction squabbles between Brad Pitt and the screenwriters, departing directors, as well as the film’s removal from Paramount’s upcoming releases. But fear…

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The 9 Most Troubled Movie Productions Since 2000

Terry Gilliam, Darren Aronofsky, and Lynne Ramsay have all been through production nightmares this century, and they certainly aren’t the only ones.

“The Dark Tower” is finally arriving in theaters after decades in development. Reports surfaced earlier this week that test screenings for the Stephen King adaptation were so awful that Sony Pictures considered replacing director Nikolaj Arcel and bringing in someone new to oversee post-production and turn the film around.

Unfortunately, news like this is becoming all too familiar in the age of studio-driven tentpoles. More and more, executives have the final call, not directors, and it’s leading to one production nightmare after another. As the studios become the driving forces behind blockbusters, directors’ voices continue to be stifled. No wonder the likes of Darren Aronofsky, Terry Gilliam, and Lynne Ramsay have all struggled in the studio system. Below is a rundown of the 9 most troubled film productions of the 21st century (so far).

“The Bourne Identity” (2002)

Nobody expected “The Bourne Identity” to become a worldwide hit and a franchise-starting success story, especially not director Doug Liman and screenwriter Tony Gilroy. The production was living hell from day one as Universal and Liman became mortal enemies. The studio hated Liman’s slow pacing for the film and his execution of small-scale, intimate action scenes (which led to certain set pieces being entirely re-shot so they could be more fast-paced). Liman was forced into filming re-shoots, which raised the budget by $8 million to the $60 million mark. Gilroy was delivering script re-writes throughout the entirety of filming as Universal kept scrapping scenes. Other points of contention included the studio forcing Liman to set some of the film in Paris in order to keep the budget down and Liman’s demand for using a French-speaking crew.

No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only. No Book Cover UsageMandatory Credit: Photo by Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock (2249065i) The Brothers Grimm (2005) Matt Damon, Heath Ledger, Terry Gilliam The Brothers Grimm - 2005

“The Brothers Grimm”

Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock

“The Brothers Grimm” (2005)

Terry Gilliam needed a hit after the box office failure of his passion project “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,” and that pressure kept him away from the big screen for seven years. He finally decided to return with “The Brothers Grimm,” a fairy tale blockbuster from MGM and Dimension. Problems started when MGM dropped out after struggling to raise the necessary budget. The movie went into production with an $80 million price tag, but Gilliam always knew a movie of this scale required a budget upwards of $120 million. He ended up in a tense relationship with the Weinstein brothers, who took control of the film away from Gilliam and fired his cinematographer and regular collaborator Nicola Pecorini after six weeks. Things got so bad that filming was shut down for two weeks. Gilliam ended up finishing the project and has admitted the final version is the result of two competing visions and neither winning.

“Fantastic Four” (2015)

“Fantastic Four” was released in theaters on August 7, but it was not the version director Josh Trank had cut, nor was it the one actors Miles Teller, Michael B. Jordan, Toby Kebbell, Kate Mara, and Jamie Bell signed up to make. Trank had originally pitched his movie as a superhero spin on a David Cronenberg body horror film, but this darker version was not what 20th Century Fox ended up wanting. The studio believed the movie hewed too close to Trank’s own “Chronicle” than a superhero tentpole.

Producers Hutch Parker and Simon Kinberg rewrote Trank’s original script and gave the film a different ending during filming. Fox still didn’t like Trank’s theatrical cut, so they began making changes to certain scenes and omitting entire set pieces without Trank’s knowledge. The director bashed the film on Twitter when it was released, claiming it was entirely different than the version he originally cut. Only later was it revealed that the poor relationship between the studio and the director led the latter to completely shut down on set. Trank reportedly trashed some of the sets and appeared intoxicated during filming. The film never recovered and was a box office flop.

Pictures/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock

“The Fountain” (2006)

It was only inevitable that a movie as ambitiously conceived as Darren Aronofsky’s “The Fountain” was going to have production troubles. The director originally planned to kick off filming in summer 2002 with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, but Warner Bros. got nervous over the budget and threatened to drop out if a co-financier wasn’t found. Aronofsky brought in Regency Enterprises and a start date was set for October 2002 with a $70 million budget. It would have been smooth sailing, but Pitt wanted script revisions and left the movie just seven weeks before production was set to begin. Warner Bros. dropped the film and expensive sets and props had to be auctioned off. Aronofsky remained committed to the film and rewrote it from the ground up in order for it to be made on the cheap. His revision did the trick. Warner Bros. returned and signed on to make the movie for $35 million.

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David Fincher Nearing Deal to Direct Brad Pitt in ‘World War Z’ Sequel

It looks like we just got way more excited for the “World War Z” sequel.

David Fincher is nearing a deal to direct the long-in-the-works “World War Z” sequel for Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions, Variety reports. The director’s name has been in contention for the last several months, but sources say it’s close to a done deal. The move would reunite Fincher with Brad Pitt for the fourth time, following efforts “Seven,” “Fight Club” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”

READ MORE: Guillermo del Toro Analyzes David Fincher’s ‘Zodiac,’ Proves It’s One of the Best Films in ‘Recent Memory’

According to Variety, Pitt has been in talks with Fincher since last summer about signing on to direct and apparently has an idea strong enough to bring him on board. Fincher has been wary of sequels ever since the notorious production of “Alien 3,” but it would appear he’d have the freedom he needs on “World War Z” under Paramount’s new chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos. Gianopulos was previously at 20th Century Fox and worked with Fincher on “Gone Girl.”

The original “World War Z,” directed by Mark Forster, opened in summer 2013 and made $540 million worldwide. Fincher hasn’t made a film since the Gillian Flynn adaptation in 2014. He shot the pilot for the Netflix serial killer drama “Mindhunter,” which is expected to debut in October. Sources say production on the next “World War Z” is aiming to start in the first quarter of 2018.

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