Tom Hardy, Tye Sheridan and a host of other actors are joining the cast of upcoming Vietnam war drama The Things They Carried. Rupert Sanders (Snow White And The Huntsman) is directing the adaptation of Vietnam vet Tim O’Brien‘s 1990 short story collection based on his experiences in the war.
The book has long received acclaim, and even went on to become a Pulitzer Prize finalist upon publication. One of the short stories from the collection, “Sweetheart Of The Song Tra Bong”, has previously been adapted into the 1998 Keifer Sutherland movie A Soldier’s Sweetheart.
In addition to Hardy and Sheridan, an eclectic cast has also joined the project, including Bill Skarsgård, Pete Davidson, Stephan James, Ashton Sanders, and Moises Arias. Scott B. Smith (A Simple Plan) will pen the script. There’s currently no word on who any of the actors are playing, however.
The book contains 21 short stories which focus on the various horrors of war that visited the 23rd Infantry Division. A fictionalised O’Brien serves as the narrator, with his fellow soldiers taking turns in the spotlight in each story. As the men travel from across Vietnam, each of them must grapple with their involvement in the war and the psychological, emotional, and physical toll it takes on them.
With that premise, it almost seems bizarre that this isn’t being adapted into a mini-series, which many productions lean towards ahead of feature films nowadays. It’s easy to envision the HBO or Showtime TV version of this adaptation, with each short story taking up one episode, allowing for big stars to appear on the show without making a long-term commitment to it.
But no, it will be a feature, and it will be interesting to see how a book of short stories is adapted into one big film. Will it be an anthology of sorts? Or will Smith take some stories from the book and weave them together into one cohesive narrative?
Sanders said of the project in a statement: “The Things They Carried is a beautifully crafted work and one of the most viscerally evocative books I have ever read. For me, it transcends its subject of young men at war and explores the landscape of deep human emotions that reside within all of us”.
This will be an interesting one to track. Vietnam war films naturally aren’t as ubiquitous as they were in the 70s and 80s, but we did recently get a great one in the form of Spike Lee‘s Da 5 Bloods, which could be line for Best Picture at the Oscars in this truncated year for movies. We’ll see if The Things They Carried can match that. No word yet on when production is expected to begin.