Iconic director Michael Mann, responsible for creating such films as Heat and Collateral, is shifting his attentions to the small screen and has set his sights on creating a miniseries about the Vietnam War. Empire reported that Mann will adapt a nonfiction book on the Vietnam War by writer Mark Bowden, who also wrote the book Black Hawk Down, which inspired the 2001 film of the same name, directed by Ridley Scott.
Bowden’s book is titled Hue 1968 and will be released in June. The book centers on the Vietnamese city of Hue during the Tet Offensive, a critical (and especially violent) component of the Vietnam War in which the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong launched a surprise attack on the South, causing South Vietnam and the United States to temporarily lose control of a number of cities. Though the United States was able to fight off Northern efforts, the offensive caused a significant blow the American psyche during the war and permanently changed the nature of the conflict.
Michael Mann and Michael De Luca will produce the show, with Mann planning to direct several episodes as well. The miniseries will tell the true story of Hue during the war from the point of view of multiple characters, ranging from citizens on the ground to major political players like President Lyndon Johnson.
Mann discussed the series with Deadline and described Bowden’s book as “a masterpiece of intensely dramatic nonfiction.” Mann says he aims to show the connections between us and those who lived in the past, explaining, “We are them. There are no background people – people abstracted into statistics, body counts. There is the sense that everybody is somebody, as each is in the actuality of their own lives,” the director suggests. Mann also had some strong praise for Bowden’s work and described what drew him to the project. He went on to say, “The brilliance of Bowden’s narrative, the achievement of interviewing hundreds of people on all sides and making their human stories his foundation, is why Hue 1968 rises to the emotional power and universality of For Whom The Bell Tolls and All Quiet On The Western Front.”
The series has not been picked up by any particular network yet, although many are sure to be interested considering the strength of the source material and Mann’s attachment to the project.