The director of hits like Bourne Identity and Mr and Mrs Smith has set his eyes on a film titled Attica. It is an insider’s view of the 1971 four day Attica state prison rebellion from a screenplay written by Geoffrey Fletcher, the Academy Award nominated screenwriter of Precious. It is definitely a powerful subject which is deserving of a big screen adaptation.

The riot was based in part upon prisoners’ demands for better living condition. At the time, inmates were given one shower per week and one roll of toilet paper per month. On September 9,1971, responding to death of prisoner George Jackson, a black radical prisoner who had been shot to death by corrections officer in California’s San Quentin Prison.

On August 21 st while armed and attempting to escape, about 1000 of the prison’s approximately 2200 prisoners rioted and seized control of the prison, taking thirty three correction officers hostage. The State began negotiating with the prisoners. During the following four days of negotiations, authorities agreed to 28 of the prisoner’s demands, but would not agree to demands of complete amnesty from criminal prosecution for the prison takeover, or for the removal of Attica’s superintendent.

Under the order of then Governor Nelson Rockefeller, state police took back control of the prison. When the uprising was over at least 39 people were dead, including ten correction officers and civilian employees.

The project is said to be deeply personal for Liman whose father was chief counsel to the New York State Special Commission on Attica Prison and co authored the commision’s report attacking then Governor Nelson Rockefeller and the New York State prison authorities for their share of responsibilities for the riot’s 42 person death toll. The film will be produced and go into pre production really soon.