The daring jungle rescue of Ingrid Betancourt, three Americans and 11
others from leftist guerrillas could become a movie soon if Hollywood
producers can strike a deal with the Colombian government.
Both Warner Brothers and Sony Pictures are competing to portray
“Operation Jaque” (Operation Check), where Colombian soldiers in July
posed as aid workers to free the hostages being held by guerrillas with
the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), officials said.
a former Colombian presidential candidate who has dual French-Colombian
nationality, had been in captivity for more than six years.
Pictures representatives came here and presented a project already well
underway. Warner Brothers came as well,” Colombian Defense Minister
Juan Manuel Santos told AFP.
“At the ministry, we offered them our full collaboration. The goal is that they release a very good film true to the facts.”
Brothers spokeswoman Jessica Zacholl, contacted by telephone in Los
Angeles, confirmed that her studio had acquired the rights to a project
on the rescue operation. “The film will focus on the operation,”
She said the film was in development and that it was premature to provide any further details.
Sony, contacted by AFP, said it was unable to comment on the project at this time.
said the producers could begin filming as early as mid-2009 and release
the movie in theaters a year later, adding that the negotiations were
coming to a close.
The script, Santos said, would be adapted from a book on the rescue operation by Colombian writer Juan Carlos Torres.
find great personal gratification in the film being produced. It is a
tribute to the army and all Colombians, especially as it will be shown
all over the world by either Sony or Warner, two top-notch production
houses,” said Torres, whose book is already a bestseller two weeks
after its publication.
Betancourt earlier this month indicated
she would step out of the limelight for a year to write up her own
memoir of her six-year hostage ordeal.
On July 2, 2008 President Alvaro Uribe ordered the launch of top-secret operation to free hostages held by the FARC.
group included Betancourt, US contractors Thomas Howes, Marc Gonsalves
and Keith Stansell — kidnapped by the Marxist guerrilla in February
2003 — and 11 Colombian military and police.
the surprise operation came after carefully preparing Colombia’s
intelligence services and infiltrating the FARC cell guarding the
Colombian soldiers arrived at the FARC’s jungle hideout
posing as aid workers and tricked guerillas into handing the hostages
over, ostensibly to be transferred to another FARC site.
said part of his book’s sale profits will be provided to rehabilitation
and assistance programs for Colombian soldiers wounded in combat or
“Some of the book’s profits goes to the heroes
of the Colombian army, and I hope that part of the film’s ticket sales
will also go to them,” Torres said.
The projected film is not the
only FARC-related movie being planned. Colombian director Victor
Gaviria is said to work on “Black Blood: The Hour of the Traitors,” the
true story of a young FARC leader betrayed by his family. Former FARC
members who have laid down their arms are set to play leading roles.
early 2008 the FARC unilaterally released six other hostages to
Venezuela, following mediation led by Colombian senator Piedad Cordoba
and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
Another hostage was recovered on October 26 after a former FARC guerrilla fled the jungle with politician Oscar Tulio Lizcano.
FARC still holds an estimated 700 hostages, most of them ordinary
Colombian citizens seized for ransom, with about 28 held as political