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Lockerbie disaster film from Hollywood?

Flight103.jpgThe man who was behind the book that inspired Steven Spielberg's Munich is currently in talks to turn his latest book into a film, and according to reports Steven Spielberg is once again looking at the work as a possible film project.

The novel is a fictional account of the Lockerbie disaster, where the commercial flight 103 was bombed and brought down over the Scottish town of Lockerbie, killing two hundred and seventy people.

The man behind the book is Juval Aviv, a former Major in the Israeli Defence Force and Mossad agent who was a lead investigator for Pan Am during the Lockerbie enquiry, and writes under the name of Sam Green. He claims that although the book is fictional it is a thinly disguised account of what he believes really was behind the terrorist attack on Flight 103 and devastating crash on Lockerbie in December 1988.

"Flight 103 is written as fiction, but it is based solidly on real-life facts. The US Government urged me to change my report (to the inquiry], but I wouldn't and I fully stand by my version of events.

I think 2008 will be the year when the truth finally emerges. There is still an innocent person in jail, but hopefully not for much longer."

Are his comments from the newspaper Scotland on Sunday through The Scotsman.

During the trial of the currently imprisoned Libyan, Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, Juval Aviv was adamant that Libya was not responsible for the bombing but his evidence and beliefs were rejected.

The novel tells the story of retired Israeli agent Sam Woolfman who discovers that Tehran ordered the destruction of an American plane in retaliation for the U.S. shooting an Iranian plane down in 1988 killing one hundred and thirty three passengers.

The novel even goes so far as to say that the Iranians enlist a Palestinian terrorist called Ahmed 'The Falcon' Shabaan to carry out the attack, and then it goes completely conspiracy mad.

It claims that the American intelligence services covered up the certainty of the attack and placed three of their own agents aboard the flight in order to cover up a heroin dealing ring that was operating inside the CIA. These three CIA agents were about to reveal the plot to the outside world, and so they placed them aboard the plane they knew was going to be bombed.

Yes, this is where I started disengaging too. Not content to fake their deaths in some simple way, they'd rather cover up a complete terrorist attack on almost three hundred people in order to ensure three were dead.

The character of Woolfman, according to the newspaper report, also discovers that the U.S. Embassy staff all around the world were warned not to board the plane.

As much as I think this is an exciting story, I do think that perhaps it's not quite right to be giving a fantastical fictional story that is so close to reality at a critical time in legal proceedings for the case against Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, the man currently in prison for the crime. A more factual investigative film would be appropriate don't you think?

According to the report there are a number of high profile Hollywood directors currently looking at the project, and Steven Spielberg is one of them. He hired Aviv as a consultant on his Munich film, and although nothing has been signed yet he is very confident.

I'm not so sure. Munich (Filmstalker review) was much more character based and rooted much closer to reality, from this initial blurb I really do get the feel of something like The Da Vinci Code (Filmstalker review), even down to the fact that Woolfman, the investigator in the story, has a young and glamorous assistant.

This tale seems to be too close to reality and yet too fantastical to be taken as a hint to reality, and that part about the CIA and a drug cover up sounds rather too stretched from the truth.

That all aside, I do wish that someone would start tackling the story of Pan Am Flight 103 and dramatise the tale as Paul Greengrass did with United 93 (Filmstalker review).

Back in April we heard about another film on the bombing from the Director Niki Caro who directed Whale Rider.

Back then we heard that she was developing a script for a film version of events based on the memoirs of Ken Dornstein telling the story of his brother David who died in the disaster, entitled The Boy Who Fell Out of The Sky.

That sounded much more like a tale that was going to look at the people and the human impact than anything else, and perhaps that's better suited until a more factual account can be made.

Aviv's novel, Flight 103 (Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com), is released in the new year.



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