Here at the Outpost we love a military movie. Especially men-on-a-mission / spec ops type adventures. This is because like all boys we played a lot of soldiers as kids, and now we have to deal with the fact that we are mostly too old, too fat and honestly probably too cowardly to go and do any of this real heroic stuff. So we live vicariously through these movies.
So when we hear that Australian filmmaker Phillip Noyce is to bring one of the most incredible tales of the modern military era to the screen we take notice. Noyce directed Patriot Games, Salt, Clear and Present Danger and The Quiet American among others.
Now he is to work on Alive Day. If you don’t know the story, it’s taken from the book Six Days to Zeus: Alive Day. This is by a man called Samuel Hill who ran a military task force and this story is confirmed as true, and now a matter of historical military fact.
Phoenix Pictures and Voyage Media will bring this story to the screen.
Samuel ‘Chief’ Hill led a unit of seven men who were hand selected from the Navy Seals, Green Berets, Army Rangers and Marine Recon. In 2003 they were already in Iraq operating from a desert camp near the Jordanian border.
They were conducting top secret early surveillance against the Iraqi regime and would wear burkhas to enter Baghdad to fulfill these missions.
A massive explosion ultimately killed the entire team except for Chief who was horrifically injured and barely survived.
What happened next is an epic mystery which was eventually solved. The Chief legitimately didn’t know if he was the perpetrator and responsible for slaughtering his own men. An unbelievable detective story involving the FBI secret work on behalf of the Jordanian government finally uncovered the truth.
The story of how the book came to screen may also be deserving of its own movie.
In real life Hill was confined to a wheelchair and ended up as a homeless veteran living in a park in North Carolina. A visitor to the park helped introduce him to new medical technology that allowed him to walk again.
He soon began the writing therapy that led to the novel. After seeing an advertisement for Voyage Media online, he submitted his work and connected with Noyce’s longtime producing partner, Kathleen McLaughlin.
She introduced the material to Noyce and producer Mike Medavoy and wrote the screenplay for the upcoming movie.
The novel was vetted by the US Department Of Defence who were satisfied that it did not reveal any classified information that wasn’t already known as a result of the investigation.
A read of Chief’s service record reveals an unbelievable level of decoration. In no particular order he received Southwest Asia Service Medal; Kuwait Liberation Medal; National Defense Ribbon; Army of Occupation Medal (Berlin); Achievement Medal for Heroism; Good Conduct Medal (four); Army Commendation Medal with six Oak Leaf Clusters (Seven Awards, one with Combat “V” device for Valor); Meritorious Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters (three awards); Legion of Merit Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, one civilian, one military award (Two awards).
Additionally, Chief was cited as the Intelligence and Security Command Commander’s Trophy for Operational Intelligence Achievement (1st Runner Up) after only three years in service for operational intelligence 110 miles behind the Iron Curtain during the Cold War.
On top of this there are numerous redacted awards said to be classified until at least 2085. What a record! And what a story!
Noyce says the film will be blend of Born on the Fourth of July, Coming Home and Deer Hunter with an Agatha Christie whodunit sensibility.
Noyce plans to have physical production ready to go on Alive Day once it’s safe to do so post the COVID-19 climate.