'Saving Private Ryan' Writer Set to Pen Movie About a Marine and His Afghan Interpreter

Thomas Schueman Marine
Capt. Thomas Schueman visiting an animal shelter in Queensland, Australia in 2017. (DoD)

"Semper Fi," a movie about the relationship between Marine Maj. Thomas Schueman and his Afghan interpreter, Zainulla Zaki, is the latest project for screenwriter Robert Rodat, Oscar-nominated for his work on "Saving Private Ryan."

Schueman and Zaki formed a tight personal bond while fighting against the Taliban in Afghanistan's Helmand Province in 2010. Schueman was awarded a Purple Heart after he was ambushed in a field.

The Marine spent years trying to secure visas for Zaki and his family. Even though Schueman's efforts weren't successful, Zaki's family managed to elude the Taliban and get to Hamid Karzai International Airport in August and were evacuated in the waning days of the war.

After stops in Qatar and Germany, Zaki and his family are adjusting to life in the United States at Fort Pickett in Virginia. Schueman is still on active duty as an English literature instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

Rodat also wrote the Mel Gibson movie "The Patriot," the Paul Rudd movie "The Catcher Was a Spy" and created the TNT science fiction series "Falling Skies."

"Semper Fi" will be produced by Allyn Stewart and Hawk Koch. Stewart produced "Sully," the movie about the Hudson River airplane landing directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Tom Hanks. Koch is a Hollywood legend who was assistant director on such classics as "The Way We Were," "Chinatown" and "Heaven Can Wait." He later produced "Gorky Park" and "The Pope of Greenwich Village."

The Chicago Sun-Times asked Schueman who he wants to play him in the movie, and he suggested fellow veteran Adam Driver, even though they don't resemble each other. "I like the idea that he was a Marine," Schueman said.

Once the screenplay has been completed, the producers will have to hire a director before casting can begin. We're probably going to have to wait at least two years before we see "Semper Fi," but this story seems worth the wait.

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