The project is being put together by Alex Gibney, a film-maker who has plenty of experience of the territory. The writer-director, who won an Oscar for his searing 2007 indictment of questionable activities by American soldiers in Afghanistan, Taxi to the Dark Side, also put together the popular Sundance documentary We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks.
The Bradley Manning project will be a drama rather than a factual film. Gibney last year optioned Denver Nicks' book Private: Bradley Manning, WikiLeaks, and the Biggest Exposure of Official Secrets in American History. Variety reports that he is currently looking for a screenwriter.
"The Bradley Manning story is easily one of the most important stories of the last decade," said Nicks in a recent interview. "In many ways, Bradley Manning's story is the story of the United States in the post 9/11 era."
Whistleblowing is a popular subject with Hollywood film-makers right now. As well as Gibney's documentary on Assange, Bill Condon's forthcoming biopic The Fifth Estate stars Benedict Cumberbatch as the WikiLeaks activist, with Goodbye, Lenin's Daniel Brühl as his erstwhile confidante Daniel Domscheit-Berg. The latter film centres on the early days of the site and is based on Domscheit-Berg's own book Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World's Most Dangerous Website, as well as Guardian writers David Leigh and Luke Harding's WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy. Meanwhile, Hollywood agency WME was last month reported to be offering a film about Edward Snowden, who exposed the US National Security Agency's programme of widespread surveillance of its own citizens via the Guardian on 6 June, to studios.
Manning was convicted on 17 out of 22 charges at a military court on 30 July, as well as on four amended charges, and faces up to 136 years behind bars. He was, however, found not guilty of the single most serious charge against him – that he knowingly "aided the enemy", by disclosing information to the WikiLeaks website.
"I hope that Judge Lind will be lenient in her sentence, taking into consideration Manning's intent, his willingness to take responsibility for his actions, and the outrageously abusive treatment he has received at the hands of the Obama administration," said Gibney in response to the Manning verdict.
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