“The Things They Carried is a timeless tale about the human heart.”
One of the most popular American books about the Vietnam War is becoming a movie, recruiting an all-star cast. According to Entertainment Weekly, Moises Arias (Monos), Angus Cloud (Euphoria), Pete Davidson (The King of Staten Island), Tom Hardy (Mad Max: Fury Road), Stephan James (If Beale Street Could Talk), Ashton Sanders (Moonlight), Martin Sensmeier (The Magnificent Seven), Tye Sheridan (X-Men: Apocalypse), and Bill Skarsgard (It) will play the men of Alpha Company.
First published in 1990, The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien has since become a staple of assigned reading in American high schools. It is less a novel than a collection of short stories; the first shares the same title as the book and is sometimes anthologized independently. While that story is a realistic description of the things each soldier is carrying into the battle and what they signify, several others in the collection play more with the boundary between fantasy and reality. "Sweetheart of the Song Tra Bong," for instance, tells the surreal story of one of the soldiers flying his girlfriend in to Vietnam to help the troops with domestic tasks, only for her to eventually assimilate into Vietnamese culture and disappear into the jungle with a necklace of human tongues. It's unknown yet how many or which stories will be adapted in the film.
Deadline reports that the script adaptation comes from Oscar-nominated screenwriter Scott B. Smith (A Simple Plan). The Things They Carried is being produced by Hardy's Hardy Son & Baker alongside MJZ. Rupert Sanders (Snow White and The Huntsman) will direct the feature adaptation of Texas author Tim O’Brien’s acclaimed collection of stories about a platoon of young soldiers and their experiences on the front lines during the Vietnam War. Shooting is planned for early 2021 in Thailand.
“Things They Carried is a timeless tale about the human heart. It’s about fear and courage and friendship. It’s about growing up, about holding oneself together in the face of terrible events . . . or not holding oneself together at all. It’s about death. And how to live on in the aftermath of death. It’s about the weight of the things we all carry," MJZ's David Zander (Spring Breakers) said in a statement. "Taught to an entire generation of American high school and university students, The Things They Carried has attained its stature precisely because it’s about so much more than the war—in the same way that To Kill A Mockingbird is about so much more than life in the Jim Crow South, or The Great Gatsby is about so much more than the Roaring Twenties. The handful of books that become rites of passage in the American educational system are chosen because they speak to universal questions, and The Things They Carried stands shoulder to shoulder with them. I am so thankful to Tim for entrusting me to bring this important work to the screen.”
Pulitzer Prize-finalist O’Brien served in Vietnam in the late 1960s. The Things They Carried won the 1990 National Book Critics Circle Award and has been named a New York Times Book of the Century.