Guy Ritchie is going to war, World War II, that is. The English filmmaker known for presenting character-driven gangster films has signed on to write and direct Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare for Paramount Pictures. Based on the book Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare: How Churchill’s Secret Warriors Set Europe Ablaze and Gave Birth to Modern Black Ops by Damien Lewis, Paramount has been holding onto this one since 2015, when they won the rights to the story.
According to Deadline, the tale takes place in 1939, when the Brits were being pounded by Germany in mainland Europe, and Winston Churchill wanted to hit back hard. His answer: Stop fighting under accepted gentlemanly rules of engagement and create a group of warriors who became the first “deniable” secret operatives to strike behind enemy lines. They were basically Britain’s first black ops unit. Members were recruited, knowing they were likely to be killed. They became a very tight-knit group, and their work spanned WWII. They won important victories against the Nazis, breaking all the accepted rules of warfare in the process and using deception and even the bow and arrow to dispatch the enemy.
The latest draft of Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare is written by Arash Amel with previous writers including Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson. The project offers Ritchie a welcomed change of pace by providing him with a hard-hitting period piece that focuses on brotherhood among hardened men. Ivan Atkinson will executive produce the project, with Paramount SVP Production Vanessa Joyce overseeing.
For the moment, Ritchie is in the midst of helming the action-thriller Five Eyes, which has Jason Statham, Aubrey Plaza, Cary Elwes, Hugh Grant, and Josh Hartnett included as members of the main cast. The film focuses on an agent who is recruited by a global intelligence alliance to track down and stop the sale of a deadly weapons technology that threatens to disrupt the world order.
Are you intrigued by the prospect of Ritchie taking on a World War II film project? Will some of Ritchie’s regulars join the cast? I’m excited to find out.