In a climate where most creative types can’t make money being a screenwriter unless they’re one of the lucky few who gets tapped to turn a board game or an old TV show into a movie, End of Watch filmmaker David Ayer has just sold his latest script on spec for $1m. The film is called Fury, and it’s a World War II story about an American tank and its five man crew battling a desperate German army as the Nazi regime crumbles around them. QED International was the company who foot the bill for the screenplay. They’ve hired Ayer himself to direct, and plan on setting him up for a fall production start.
Ayer, for his part, says that his goal for Fury is to “bring a fresh execution to the genre. What these men went through is worthy of a complex, honest portrayal. This will have incredible, visceral action and complex rich characters. I plan to bring tank combat to life in a way that lands with a modern audience.” Given the found footage gimmick that Ayer needlessly implemented in his admittedly impressive cop drama, End of Watch, that sort of quote brings to mind a film made up solely of grainy, black and white newsreels of period war action, which would probably be pretty horrible, and is likely a worst case scenario for this one.
It’s more likely he has something in mind like Samuel Maoz’s 2009 film Lebanon, which was set during the Lebanon war and was shot entirely inside of a tank. That film did a great job of throwing you directly into the action and bringing to life what the realities of being on a tank crew are, but due to the fact that it never left the confines of the tank, it got a little boring and proved to be more of an interesting experiment than a fully satisfying film. If Ayer took a similar approach in his writing of Fury, but let his story have more scope and breathe a little bit more, and if he’s able to recreate the excitement of that first-person car chase that opens End of Watch, but without feeling the need to explain his first-person shots with a found footage gimmick, then we could be looking at the most exciting war film we’ve gotten in a long time.
What do you think? Are you a fan of Ayer’s work? And, maybe more importantly, are you ready to see him finally tackle a story that isn’t about LA cops and criminals?