Since the publication of my first book in 2005, I’ve had several run-ins with Hollywood that I suppose one could call “interesting”—or, perhaps more truthfully, “frustrating.” You can read about one such Tinsel Town adventure here. Today, something happened I feel compelled to share. My film agent is currently pitching my latest book, Human Game: The True Story of the ‘Great Escape’ Murders and the Hunt for the Gestapo Gunmen. Regular visitors to this site know the book picks up where the 1963 Steve McQueen film “The Great Escape” ends. It details the British manhunt for a Gestapo murder squad in post-war Germany.
The story is dark, tragic, and—of course—true. Today, however, a Hollywood producer turned the book down because he felt the subject of hunting Nazi war criminals had been adequately covered in the Quentin Tarentino flick “Inglourious Basterds.” Seriously. Now, I realize producers are under tremendous pressure to produce hits—and I realize the odds of having a book turned into a film are slim . . . but “Inglourious Basterds”?!
The film, in short, highlights the adventures of a team of Nazi hunters who scalp their prey. I enjoyed the movie—but I find it odd one would think it seriously addresses the issue of retribution for Nazi war atrocities! As far as I can tell, the similarities between Human Game and Tarantino’s film are:
• Both take place in Europe.
• Both are set against the backdrop of World War II.
• Both feature Nazis as bad guys.
• Both feature Hitler.
• Both involve good guys hunting aforementioned Nazi bad guys.
That’s about it. In all honesty, I’m not bitter about the producer’s rejection—I just find his reasoning to be strange. Oh, well . . .