Serial memoirist Jim DeFelice, whose previous co-author credits include Chris Kyle’s bestselling autobiography American Sniper, is being adapted by Hollywood once again. Writer Alan Wenkus, one of several screenwriters who received a story credit on the recent biopic blockbuster Straight Outta Compton, has been tapped to adapt DeFelice’s Code Name: Johnny Walker, which the perennial co-author wrote with its subject, a pseudonymous Iraqi translator whose work with Navy SEAL teams spanned over a thousand missions for the U.S. military.
Released in 2014, the book carried an endorsement from the deceased Kyle, who declared “Walker”—whose real name has been keep confidential to protect his Iraqi family from reprisals—“responsible for saving many American lives, especially SEALs.” The book depicts the conflict in Iraq, life under Saddam Hussein, and the U.S. occupation of the country from the point of view of a citizen working with the occupying forces while trying to keep his family safe.
The 2014 film adaptation of Kyle’s own book, directed by Clint Eastwood, was a massive financial success, and garnered numerous Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actor for star Bradley Cooper. (It ultimately won for Best Sound Editing.) Studio 28 Entertainment is presumably hoping to tap into that same enthusiasm with Code Name, adding a layer of home-grown conflict to Sniper’s sometimes-ambiguous examination of the personal effects of the war in Iraq. The film will be the latest nonfiction adaptation for Wenkus, whose involvement in the torturous writing process that birthed Compton has also earned him an attachment to a George Jones biopic, No Show Jones.