Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson, the script writing duo known for films like The Outpost and Patriots Day, recently announced a new historical film project. The pair, reunited with Outpost producer Paul Merryman, have signed on to adapt Spearhead: An American Tank Gunner goes to the big screen.
Spearhead: An American Tank Gunner, His Enemy, and a Collision of Lives in World War II, is a non-fiction WWII book by Adam Markos. Released in February of 2019, Spearhead follows two tank gunners: Clarence Smoyer, an American, and Gustav Schaefer, a German, on their journey to Cologne from two different sides of the war. When a civilian drives their car through their tank crossfire, the two men’s lives are forever changed and connected.
George Petras of USA Today called the book a WWII story where “humanity is (the) central focus,” and Kim Curtis of the Associated Press called the book’s writing “strong, dramatic and cinematic.”
It should be no surprise then that Johnson and Tamasy were drawn to this story. The pair’s previous work includes similar non-fiction action stories, like “The Finest Hours” (2016), “Patriots Day” (2016) and “The Fighter” (2010). However, the pair feel as if this story has particular resonance in 2021.
“In a time of discord and division,” Tamasy told Variety, “Adam’s book paints a vivid and compelling story of forgiveness and healing that sticks with you long after you’ve set it down.”
He later added on Twitter: “I love this story and can’t wait to bring it to the big screen. It’s a powerful one with a timely message.”
For Johnson, Spearhead’s message is more personal. “My own father fought in World War II and he also came home with emotional scars,” Johnson said in the announcement. “Spearhead is a riveting story full of action, heart and emotion, and an opportunity for me to honor my dad and the sacrifices he made.”
Tamasy began his screenwriting career with the family film “Airbud” in 1997, which would go on to spawn a multi-film series. It wasn’t until 2010 that he first teamed up with Eric Johnson on “The Fighter”, starring Christian Bale and Mark Walhberg. Johnson and Tamasy were nominated for an Academy Award for that script and have continued to collaborate on projects ever since. The pair are again receiving Oscar buzz for their work on “The Outpost” (2020).
Rod Lurie, “The Outpost” director, said on Twitter that between Johnson, Tamasy and producer Paul Merryman, “there will be massive war film experience going into (Spearhead). It’ll be amazing!”
Spearhead currently has no release date or attached director.
Sources: Variety, USA Today, ABC News, Twitter, IMDb