Oscar-Winning The Sting Scribe David S. Ward Boards Audie Murphy Limited Series – Update

EXCLUSIVE update, January 5: Oscar-winning scribe David S. Ward has joined creative of team behind the in-the-works series about World War II hero Audie Murphy’s life.

“Audie fought in two wars,” says Ward, “heroically against the Germans in World War II, and desperately against the post-traumatic stress of that war, which threatened to destroy his family, his film career and his stature as the most admired man in America at the time. He was a Norman Rockwell painting with parts of it torn off.”

Ward, known for his work on The Sting Sleepless in Seattle and the Major League films, boarded the project from Arthur E. Friedman and Steven Jay Rubin.

In 1974 Ward won the Best Writing, Story and Screenplay Based on Factual Material or Material Not Previously Published or Produced Oscar for The Sting. Twenty years later, he shared a Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen Oscar nomination with Nora Ephron and Jeff Arch for Sleepless in Seattle. His additional work includes King Ralph, Steelyard Blues and Cannery Row.

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Ward is repped by manager Jon Levin.

PREVIOUS SEPT. 2020 – EXCLUSIVE : Arthur E. Friedman and Steven Jay Rubin are developing a limited series that will explore the life of actor, Congressional Medal of Honor recipient and World War II hero Audie Murphy.

Friedman (Price of Glory, Beyond the Sea) and Rubin (Bleacher Bums, Silent Night) have acquired rights to the 1959 Murphy biography No Name on the Bullet, written by Don Graham. The producers have teamed with Graham’s widow Betsy Berry for the project, and the search is now on for a writer to adapt.

The series will tell the unfiltered story of Murphy’s life, from his time in the Army fighting in WWII to his ascent as a Hollywood leading man in the 1940s and ’50s.

The producers say the TV series will add more depth to 1955’s To Hell and Back, in which Murphy starred in his own in the adaptation of his autobiography. It is set to explore his experience with PTSD in addition to highlighting his war experience and Hollywood life, in which he made 44 films. Murphy died in a plane crash in 1971 at age 45.

“When they made To Hell and Back, with Audie playing himself, they only told part of his story,” Friedman said. “What turns a baby-faced, 125-pound, 16-year-old farm boy from East Texas into a killing machine in war and what happens when he goes from warrior to movie star and beyond makes compelling drama.”

Adds Rubin: “We tell stories differently today and our intention is to present this celebrated hero as a man, not a mythic figure. We’re inspired by realistic films like Saving Private Ryan, Battleground and miniseries like Band of Brothers.”

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