Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 11°C

min temp: 10°C

Search

Author Mark Felton ‘bowled over’ by second Hollywood book adaptation deal

Dr Mark Felton

$image.copyright

A writer of breathtaking true stories, with a gift for unearthing seldom-told tales of wartime courage, could soon be seeing another of his books played out on the big screen – little more than a year after Hollywood first came calling.

Dr Mark Felton's book is based on daring attempts to escape from Vincigliata Castle Dr Mark Felton's book is based on daring attempts to escape from Vincigliata Castle

Dr Mark Felton, who grew up in Colchester, was busy researching another war story when he discovered an “absolute gem” about the attempts of 13 senior British and Commonwealth officers to flee an ‘escape-proof’ prisoner-of-war camp converted from a medieval Tuscan castle on Mussolini’s personal orders.

“They were taken prisoner in the desert by Rommel,” said Dr Felton, whose 16th book, Zero Night, was picked up by the makers of period drama Saving Mr Banks last year.

“They were handed to Mussolini and taken to a castle above Florence. The youngest was 48 – the oldest 63. They were determined to escape.

“Many were grizzled First World War veterans, but the Italians didn’t expect them to try this stuff on. They made crazy escape attempts, and spent six months digging a 60ft tunnel through a solid wall, eventually fleeing to Switzerland.

Dr Mark Felton's book Castle of the Eagles: Escape from Mussolini�s Colditz Dr Mark Felton's book Castle of the Eagles: Escape from Mussolini�s Colditz

“I found out that their families were very keen for the story to be told.”

Hollywood’s adaptation of Zero Night is already well into pre-production, according to Dr Felton, who has been recruited as a consultant on the movie.

“I think the screenwriters have done a fantastic job,” he said. “The option has been renewed for another year, so they’re obviously serious about developing it.”

Dr Felton secured a deal for Castle of the Eagles: Escape from Mussolini’s Colditz to be made by Entertainment One – the company responsible for distributing such recent hits as Spotlight.

Sir Adrian Carton de Wiart, a one-eyed, one-handed general who escaped Vincigliata Castle Sir Adrian Carton de Wiart, a one-eyed, one-handed general who escaped Vincigliata Castle

“I’ve met some of the producers and feel it’s in safe hands,” said the 42-year-old father-of-one, who now lives in Norwich.

“I thought having one book noticed by Hollywood was extraordinary, but I’m bowled over to have two in that machine.”

A “beautiful and intelligent” young woman died after taking MDMA at a music festival in a tragic accident, an inquest heard.

A £6.4 million investment will see acute hospital services in Colchester brought together on the same site next year for the first time ever.

The jury in the trial of a former army cook accused of committing a string of sex offences while he was living in Colchester, Germany and Northern Ireland over a period of more than a decade is expected to retire to consider its verdicts tomorrow.

We have had a mild but damp start to the week in Suffolk and north Essex with temperatures set to get cooler - but will we see any snow?

An angry Ipswich father whose newsagents was targeted by thieves twice in just two days has criticised police for their response and says he feels let down by the law.

The Christmas countdown has begun, there are only 34 sleeps to go - but are we festive too soon? We asked people in Ipswich what they thought.

Fare-dodging cost 25 travellers more than £10,000 when they appeared before magistrates in Ipswich last week.

Most read

Eating Out in the Broads

cover

Click here to view
the Eating Out
supplement

View

Visit the Broads

cover

Click here to view
the Visit the Broads
supplement

View

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24