There are not a lot of people in Hollywood who can sell an epic 3D World War II battle film with just a pitch, but Bruce C. McKenna is one of those people. According to a Deadline exclusive, Warner Bros. made a preemptive buy of The Battle of Midway, McKenna's pitch about the famous World War II battle that served as a turning point for the United States in the war.
McKenna is no stranger to WWII, having served as a writer and co-executive producer of HBO's excellent WWII miniseries The Pacific, so it's no surprise that Warner Bros. went for his pitch (even if it will cost them a reported $200 million). Deadline reports that McKenna has eight weeks to turn in a script on the project.
The Battle of Midway has been immortalized on film before, most notably in the 1942 John Ford film of the same name. The film was actually a documentary short featuring real navy footage of the battle filmed by Ford, who was serving as a Commander in the United States Navy Reserve at the time.
I'm somewhat turned off by the fact that this movie is going to be in 3D (no word yet on if it will be filmed in 3D or converted in post), but I'm more than willing to give it the benefit of the doubt because of McKenna. I really enjoyed The Pacific, and knowing that McKenna was the writer for seven of the ten episodes of that show leaves a strong impression.
While the film will undoubtedly include massive special effects and epic battle sequences, my hope is that McKenna's script will really focus on the heroism and valor of the individual U.S. military personnel involved in the battle. I want a story first and foremost, not just explosions; in essence, I'm hoping for the anti-Pearl Harbor -- sorry Michael Bay!
If you absolutely must have a mindless naval action movie, you'll just have to hold out hope for Peter Berg's alien invasion film, Battleship.
We'll share more on The Battle of Midway - and its 3D format - as we hear it.