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Soldier Bear story set for Hollywood film studio

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THE beer-drinking bear who came to the village of Hutton with Polish soldiers during World War II could be the subject of a new Hollywood film.

Local author Aileen Orr, who has written a book about Wojtek the Soldier Bear, has sold the film rights to Irish writer and director Brendan Foley.

Wojtek, who came over to Britain shores with the Polish army during the war, has been a popular figure in both Berwickshire and Poland’s history thanks to tales of him swimming, drinking beer and smoking cigarettes with troops.

Like his comrades he lived at a base in Hutton before being taken to Edinburgh Zoo when the war ended. He died there in 1963.

Brendan plans to take the tale of Wojtek to Hollywood with help from Ned Dowd, producer on Mel Gibson’s ‘Apocalypto’. He has already written a synopsis for the film and is now well underway with its script.

He said: “It’s an amazing story- a bit like ‘War Horse’ but with humour and pathos alongside the action – and the bear is a real character.”

Brendan hopes to have a script ready for the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. One of the studios believed to have shown some early interest is Steven Spielberg’s Dreamworks, who made ‘War Horse’.

Aileen added: “It’s all going at break neck speed at the moment. Brendan recognises that Wojtek is a huge international story and 
I’m confident that with his great ability and the fact that he’s worked with the biggest and best in the business he will do a 
fantastic job.”

 

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