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A ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ producer is making a war movie about Levi Shirley, an American volunteer who died fighting ISIS
A new post-9/11 war movie will tell the story of Levi Shirley, an American who volunteered to fight alongside the Kurdish YPG against ISIS, before his death in July 2016 during battle in Manbij, Syria, Variety first reported on Monday.
Producer David Permut, who was nominated for an Oscar for World War II drama Hacksaw Ridge, told Variety that he's optioned the film rights for a Los Angeles Times exposé on Shirley, along with the life rights of his mother Susan.
So far, the details about the film remain scant, including its title, the cast, director, and expected release dates, but Permut shared his thoughts on why he wanted to spotlight Shirley's story.
"Levi had an incredible conviction to defend his country alongside the Kurds against the continuing threats of ISIS," he told Variety. "This profound, important, and timely story is as relevant as ever given the unfortunate circumstances occurring in Syria, and we hope to honor Levi's sacrifice by telling his story and enlightening those who are unaware."
A young man whose dreams of joining the Marine Corps were dashed due to his poor eyesight, Shirley was one of a handful of Americans who volunteered to join Kurdish fighters in the war against ISIS.
The Los Angeles Times'article by David Kelly, on which the film will be partially based, offers some insight into what we can expect to see in the film. We'll learn of Shirley's upbringing as the son of a Vietnam veteran whose war-time service may have left an indelible mark on him; how he and his mother squirreled away savings to pay for Lasik surgery so that he could enlist in the Marines, only to find out that his eyesight still didn't pass muster; to his decision to contact members of the YPG online and his two trips to Syria where he fought alongside the Kurds.
In all likelihood, it will also cover his death at age 24 during the "Manbij Meat Grinder," a YPG offensive that saw brutal close-quarters urban combat. Shirley was the second American volunteer to die in Syria while fighting alongside the Kurds against ISIS. At the time of his death, he was on his second tour to Syria — and he hadn't told anyone he was going back.
It's not hard to see why Shirley's story — and those of other volunteers — would capture the attention of Hollywood filmmakers. There's the romantic idealism of fighting the good fight, doing the noble thing, that's put in sharp contrast with the unforgiving reality of fighting a war, not as a trained soldier with all the benefits of a conventional military at your back, but as part of a ragtag militia.
In a video interview reported by the Los Angeles Times, Shirley described his decision to join the fight against ISIS.
"Eventually, I'm going to die," he said. "People die every day of heroin overdoses or because they got drunk and decided to drive on the highway or because they saw some stunt on 'Jackass' they tried to replicate. At least I'm doing something I'm proud of."
The U.S. Space Force has a name tape for uniforms now. Get excited people.
In a tweet from its official account, the Space Force said its uniform name tapes have "touched down in the Pentagon," sharing a photo of it on the chest of Gen. John W. Raymond, the newly-minted Chief of Space Operations for the new service branch nested in the Department of the Air Force.
PALM BEACH, Fla. (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump gave a minute-to-minute account of the U.S. drone strikes that killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in remarks to a Republican fund-raising dinner on Friday night, according to audio obtained by CNN.
With his typical dramatic flourish, Trump recounted the scene as he monitored the strikes from the White House Situation Room when Soleimani was killed.
The U.S. Navy will name its fourth Ford-class aircraft carrier after Doris Miller, an iconic World War II sailor recognized for his heroism during the Pearl Harbor attack, according to reports in The Honolulu Star-Advertiser and U.S. Naval Institute News.
Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly is expected to announce the naming of CVN-81 during a ceremony on Monday in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, according to USNI. Two of Miller's nieces are expected to be there, according to the Star-Advertiser.
Two immigrants, a pastor and an Army sergeant have been convicted of conspiracy to commit marriage fraud as part of an illegal immigration scheme, according to federal prosecutors.
Rajesh Ramcharan, 45; Diann Ramcharan, 37; Sgt. Galima Murry, 31; and the Rev. Ken Harvell, 60, were found guilty Thursday after a nine-day jury trial, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney's office in Colorado.
The conspiracy involved obtaining immigration benefits for Rajesh Ramcharan, Diann Ramcharan, and one of their minor children, the release said. A married couple in 2007 came to the U.S. from Trinidad and Tobago on visitor visas. They overstayed the visas and settled in Colorado.
DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran said on Saturday it was sending to Ukraine the black boxes from a Ukrainian passenger plane that the Iranian military shot down this month, an accident that sparked unrest at home and added to pressure on Tehran from abroad.
Iran's Tasnim news agency also reported the authorities were prepared for experts from France, Canada and the United States to examine information from the data and voice recorders of the Ukraine International Airlines plane that came down on Jan. 8.
The plane disaster, in which all 176 aboard were killed, has added to international pressure on Iran as it grapples with a long running row with the United States over its nuclear program that briefly erupted into open conflict this month.