Exclusive : Patriot’s Day writers on Sandler Frog Prince movie, Ian Fleming series

“Patriots Day” screenwriters Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson (who also collaborated on “The Fighter” and “The Finest Hours”) sat down with Moviehole to give an extensive interview on the finer details on “Patriots Day,” as well as advice about writing and their future projects. You can read the whole interview here, but for the lowdown on some of their upcoming projects we’ve summarized the goods below.

One of their older projects, a live-action take on the Frog Prince, might be a future Adam Sandler project, they’ve a franchise based around 007 author Ian Fleming in the works, and they’re attached to a biopic on soccer player Jamie Vardy. Separately, Tamsay is attached to Dennis Lehane’s “Depravity”.


Toad Trip

PT: I was working with Aaron Mendelsohn, working on “Airbud,” then we (he and Eric) ended up working years later on “Toad Trip,” inspired by the Frog Prince story which was live action. It’s actually seeing new life right now and we’re meeting with Adam Sandler. I think it’s one of the best things we worked on.

EJ: We sort of resurrected it, it’s a fairy tale in a lot of ways. We wrote it for both kids and parents to enjoy.

PT: It is in turnaround at Paramount, it’s a comedy; we wouldn’t mind going back to comedy.

Adam Sandler


The Painter

PT: I just adapted the book called “The Painter,” by Peter Heller, his last book got snapped up. Gabriela Cowperthwaite (“Blackfish”) came to me with the book and there’s already three offers. “The Painter” is the name of the book, it doesn’t sound like it but it’s actually a thriller.

It’s inspired by a true story, about a man who became a famous painter and went to jail for killing a man. Jim Stegner is his name. He killed a pedophile, he was in jail and his paintings now sell for thousands of dollars.


Ian Fleming Movie Franchise

PT : We’re also working on a true story about Churchill’s secret warriors – the British government opened up files recently about an operation conceived from Churchill’s idea and it’s about Ian Fleming and the real M. We sold it as a franchise for three movies, where these people changed the course of the war.

EJ: We read the book, there was so much in there, and we realized there were three great movies in it — we take it as a true story franchise. The film is one of three to come out of this book, but there are further adventures of these guys by a book by Damien Lewis (“Churchill’s Secret Warriors: The Explosive True Story of the Special Forces Desperadoes of WWII”).

Anders Lassen, who was part Swedish and part American, was the inspiration for James Bond. Ian Fleming has a big part, and you realize that Anders was the real Bond character, there’s statue of him in Scotland. They were incredible fearless secret warriors, they really impacted the war. Only two years ago the files became unclassified.

PT: We got a jump on the book. I was on a soccer team with BAFTA LA and this guy was telling me about this book. Eric and I immediately tracked down the book author and snapped up the book rights. Nice to get a jump for once!

EJ: Especially on a property like this.


Jamie Vardy Biopic

PT: We also have a few projects going on in England. We wanted to write a story about Jamie Vardy, about a little soccer team and a guy plucked out of a pub team and how they went all the way to win the world premier of the British Premier Soccer League. All the international players come to play, it’s a rag-to-riches story that Eric and I like to tell. They rose all the way to the top, and the guy managed to fight his demons so they could win.

EJ: There’s a lot of similarities with the “The Fighter,” where everyone was an underdog. Jamie and the players on the team, they had unspectacular careers. The team was around 131-years-old without ever winning a title.

PT: When we worked on it, the team was popular around the world. While we were working on it, the team came over here and it was like travelling with rock stars. Leicester City is the soccer team. Jamie Vardy had a cast on so we sat with him, the stadium was packed, a lot of kids from ages 12-18 were there.

EJ: Jamie is so popular with American kids – I went outside, and one kid looked into door and saw Jamie Vardy in there and became unglued. The kids waited for Jaime to come out, and he was swarmed by these kids.

PT: My wife and I went to meet Jamie out for dinner, we ended up at Chateau Marmont and saw all these press and it was madness, all the photos made it around the world.


PT: I’m attached to “Depravity” (based on the book “Since We Fell”) by Dennis Lehane, which has Ben Kingsley and is at IM Global.

EJ: I have no attachment but I think it’s great, a real page-turner.

PT: It’s a cross between “Rear Window” and “Shallow Grave,” taking place in one building. A producer is attached who worked on “Boston Strong,” “Finest Hours,” and “The Fighter,” she’s Dorothy Aufiero  and Boston-based.

EJ: There’s a lot of great stories there in Boston, it’s rich in history.

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