Back in 2010, the U.S. Army Special Operations Command approved a Civil Support Team (CST) pilot program that would put women soldiers into battle alongside Green Berets and Army Rangers in Afghanistan. That all-female CST-2 unit was made up of Army soldiers.
Lt. Ashley White served with the unit and became the first CST member killed in action. Her story inspired Gayle Tzemach Lemmon's best-selling 2015 book "Ashley's War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield."
Now, five years later, that book is finally coming to the screen in a movie set to be directed by Lesli Linka Glatter from a screenplay by Molly Smith Metzler. The movie will be produced by Reese Witherspoon, Bruna Papandrea and Natalie Krinsky.
What took so long? The rights were originally sold to the Fox 2000 studio but this movie was another that got jammed in up the corporate gears after the Murdoch family sold their movie business to Disney in 2018. It looks like Disney didn't want to make a female-driven war movie, so they let the right lapse and Universal Pictures stepped in to fund the project.
Fans of good television should recognize Linka Glatter's name. She's was a regular director for Showtime's "Homeland" series and has also directed episodes of the original "Twin Peaks," "Mad Men," "The Walking Dead," "The West Wing” and "The Unit."
It's hard to believe this accomplished director has only directed one little-known feature, 1998's "The Proposition." She's displayed a remarkable talent for drama and this job is long overdue.
Molly Smith Metzler is an award-winning playwright who has developed her screenwriting skills on the Hulu series "Casual" and the Showtime series "Shameless." She created and wrote the upcoming Netflix series "Maid," starring Margaret Qualley and her real-life mom Andie MacDowell.
No matter what, this will be a different take on the Afghanistan War. We haven't ever heard much from women about combat and the producers should have their pick of women actors eager for a chance to tell this kind of story.
There's no word yet on casting, which means that production likely won't start until next year. Since it's likely that everyone involved will be gunning for awards with this one, we're not likely to see a release until fall 2022. We'll keep an eye out for news about production and offer updates as they become available.
Gayle Tzemach Lemmon's next book "The Daughters of Kobani" will be published in February 2021. She tells the story of Kurdish women who went on the frontlines to take down ISIS.
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