Netflix continues to flex its Hollywood distribution muscle, with news of nabbing Brad Pitt's satirical war comedy, War Machine. Directed by David Michod (Animal Kingdom), Pitt himself will co-produce and take the leading role in the Netflix original film about the war in Afghanistan.
Inspired by the late Michael Hastings' best-seller, The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan, War Machine centers around a four-star general trying to win an "impossible" war with a radical approach. In a Netflix press release, Pitt gave his glowing praise and support to the web streaming company: “We are so excited to be a part of the inspiring commitment by Netflix to produce cutting-edge content and to deliver it to a global audience."
Check out the full press release below:
Beverly Hills, June 8, 2015—The Netflix original film, War Machine, a provocative satirical comedy from David Michôd with Brad Pitt set to star in the leading role, will be exclusively available to members of the leading Internet TV service globally and in select theaters next year.
Inspired by the best-selling book The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America’s War in Afghanistan by the late Michael Hastings, War Machine concerns a four star, “rock star” general whose lethal reputation and impeccable track record vaults him to command the American war in Afghanistan. Determined to win the “impossible” war once and for all with a radical new approach, the general and his motley staff of commanders and press advisers race across the globe navigating delicate international alliances and troop requests, the charged battlefield of Washington politics, the voracious appetite of the media, and the day-to-day management of the war itself – all the while struggling to stay connected to the lives of men and women out in the field.
With filming set to begin in August, Pitt will co-produce War Machine alongside Plan B partners Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, as well as producer Ian Bryce, who collaborated with Pitt on World War Z. Commenting on the Brad Pitt partnership with director David Michod, Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said: "War Machine is a rip-roaring, behind-the-facade tale of modern war decision-makers, from the corridors of power to the distant regions of America’s ambitions. Brad and David are a perfect team to make this timely, compelling and entertaining film.”
The movie sounds like a mashup of Pitt's work in recent years, which includes war films (or satires) like Fury and Inglourious Basterds; satirical comedies jabbing at government policy like Burn After Reading; or even more heady socio-political genre flicks like Killing Them Softly. In his adult years as a father and activist, Pitt has also been quite open about general political policies and philosophies he believes to be misguided or wrong - which is obvious a target that War Machine has in its sights.
War Machine is a huge get for Netflix, which has just started earning a rep in the industry for churning out consistent quality programming, with the likes of the hugely successful House of Cards starring big leads Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright. More recently, Netflix has been gaining ground in film distribution, attracting ever-increasing star power. Last year Netflix signed a multi-film deal with Adam Sandler, and this year managed to land exclusive rights on True Detective showrunner Cary Fukunaga’s Beasts of No Nation, starring Idris Elba, as well rights to Jadotville starring up and comer Jamie Dornan (Fifty Shades of Grey).
These last two features carry heavy price tags for Netflix, but War Machine takes the top prize, tipping in at $30 million. With a budget like that, and having attracted the likes of Pitt, Netflix has gone from humble beginnings to a movie-distribution heavyweight contender Hollywood will have to keep its eye on. It's anyone's guess now as to which A-listers might next jump on the growing Netflix movie-making vehicle - but suddenly, Scarlett Johansson starring in a Black Widow Netflix series doesn't seem so "beneath" the Avengers star.
War Machine will be available exclusively to global Netflix subscribers and in select theaters in 2016.