Netflix is eying a new war adaptation of the classic Ernest Hemingway novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls, What’s on Netflix has learned.
A new For Whom The Bell Tolls movie has been developing for at least two decades, with Game of Thrones co-creator and co-showrunner David Benioff attached to the project in the early 2000s. Back then, the project was with Warner Bros, and Leonardo DiCaprio was tipped to play a role in the movie in ’05. There’s little record of what happened to the project after this, and according to Cinema.com, “DiCaprio won’t commit to the project without a director, however, and none is attached so far.”
David Benioff since mentioned the book in his 2016 article for the New York Times, looking at his favorite ten books of all time. In the segment on For Whom the Bell Tolls, the writer states:
“Yes, a few of the lines are easy to mock. (“I love thee and thou art so lovely and so wonderful and so beautiful and it does such things to me to be with thee that I feel as though I wanted to die when I am loving thee.”) Yes, the constant use of “thee” is grating. But my love for this novel isn’t rational. I have no interest in defending it. I loved it from first to last. No final page has ever left me as shattered.”
In 2022, we were first told that an adaptation might be in the works at Netflix via two copyright registrations with Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. The Universal registration specifically mentioned a “Short-Form One Picture License.”
Fast forward to 2023, and we’ve learned that David Benioff is eyed to continue writing the script for Netflix while long-term collaborator Alan Taylor is eyed to direct.
As you may know, David Benioff and D. B. Weiss and currently working with Netflix under an extensive overall deal ever since Game of Thrones wrapped on HBO. Thus far, the pair have (either together or separately) worked on Metal Lords, The Chair, and Leslie Jones: Time Machine.
Their next major project is The Three-Body Problem (codenamed Straight Shooter), likely due for release in 2023, with their only other project announced thus far being The Overstory.
Alan Taylor is the writer, producer, and director who worked in 7 episodes of Game of Thrones and was the director on The Many Saints of Newark, Terminator Genisys, and Thor: The Dark World.
What’s For Whom The Bell Tolls about?
First published in 1940, here’s the official synopsis for the book written by Ernest Hemingway, per GoodReads:
“The story of Robert Jordan, a young American in the International Brigades attached to an antifascist guerilla unit in the mountains of Spain, it tells of loyalty and courage, love and defeat, and the tragic death of an ideal. In his portrayal of Jordan’s love for the beautiful Maria and his superb account of El Sordo’s last stand, in his brilliant travesty of La Pasionaria and his unwillingness to believe in blind faith, Hemingway surpasses his achievement in The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms to create a work at once rare and beautiful, strong and brutal, compassionate, moving and wise.”
The story has been adapted in numerous formats, including the 1943 Oscar-winning adaptation starring Gary Cooper and Ingrid Bergman.
That’s all we have on the new project for now; we’ll keep you posted if and when Netflix confirms the project further down the line.