‘24’ producer to adapt ‘The Kidnapped’ for US TV

20th Century Fox TV acquires rights to Keshet prisoner-of-war drama currently being aired on Channel 2.

By MATT ZALEN, JERUSALEM POST STAFF
March 19, 2010 14:51
3 minute read.
Hahatufim.

Hahatufim 311. (photo credit: .)

 
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20th Century Fox TV has acquired rights to adapt the Keshet prisoner-of-war drama Hahatufim (“The Kidnapped”), which is currently being aired on Channel 2, American entertainment trade journal Variety has reported.

Gideon Raf, the creator of the series, will be co-writing the format for US television, along with xx24 executive producer Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa.

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Hahatufim features three soldiers who are taken prisoner in Lebanon, and after 17 years, return to Israel – two alive, one dead – as part of a massive prisoner exchange. Over the course of 11 hour-long episodes airing on Saturday nights, the story of their reintegration into their families and into society – or at least the beginning of that reintegration – unfolds.

“We as a society are so obsessed with bringing our boys back home, but we never really deal with what happens once they’re here,” Raf told The Jerusalem Post earlier this month.

“We know these people as bookmarks, as billboards, as part of a campaign, as icons in our struggle to survive in Israel. What this show does is take you in and introduce you to what these people are really going through.”

According to Gordon, despite the Israeli-specific scenario, he saw a universal theme in the show that he thinks will appeal to Americans.

“The show was specific to Israel because of their geopolitical and national reality, but there was a very strong overlap in many ways and resonance with our country, since we're currently engaged in two military conflicts,” Gordon told Variety.

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For the US adaptation, tentatively titled “Patriots,” the show will center on two soldiers who were captured soon after the war on terror began in the wake of 9/11; they're finally released a decade later from their captors. But a third POW dies – and his demise becomes a mystery.

The show will also center on suspicions that one of the returning soldiers may have turned rogue, and could be a terrorist threat himself.

Beyond those mysteries, Gordon said he was attracted in the Israeli version to the family drama that erupts as these soldiers –  who were presumed dead – must adapt to a changed world, while their loved ones must cope with their reappearance.

Gordon also said, that after being confined to 24’s real-time format for the past eight years, he excited about being able to play with timelines, such as flashbacks and multiple days.


“That's liberating,” he said, noting that 24 debuted in November 2001, in the shadow of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

“Ten years have past and the world has changed. This show has the benefit of time, looking at the same issues as 24, in a different and more nuanced way,” Gordon said.

20th Century Fox TV chairman Dana Walden said she was immediately drawn to the format's “creatively adventurous” tone.

“It’s a project that has universal appeal and should travel very well throughout the world,” she told Variety.

Hahatufim represents  the second Keshet format set up at 20th Century Fox; the studio is adapting the Keshet comedy Traffic Light for the Fox network.

Keshet’s chairman, Avi Nir, will serve as executive producer of the US version, along with Gordon, Gansa and Raf.

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