max temp: 21°C

min temp: 12°C


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

Dr. Mark Felton


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.

Vincigliata Castle 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.

Castle_of_Eagles_vis2 (2) Castle_of_Eagles_vis2 (2)

“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.

Adrian_Carton_de_Wiart Adrian_Carton_de_Wiart

“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.”


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other East Anglian Daily Times visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by East Anglian Daily Times staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique East Anglian Daily Times account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

South Suffolk is a parliamentary seat that was formed in 1983 and has always looked like safe Conservative territory – even during the high-water mark of Blairite New Labour.

The terror threat level is being increased from severe to critical – indicating a further attack is imminent – after the deadly Manchester Arena bombing.

A support worker at sheltered housing in Felixstowe had to move jobs and suffered from PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) after a drunk resident ran past her brandishing a knife, a court has heard.

The parents and sister of a Weeley man killed during the Bataclan massacre in Paris two years ago have spoken of their “unspeakable sadness” after last night’s Manchester Arena bombing.

Two new low-cost retail stores are coming to Bury St Edmunds, as a long redundant site is brought back into use.

The devastated mother of a teenage girl killed in a crash on the A47 in Suffolk has paid tribute to her daughter, who she has described as being “beautiful inside and out”.

The full list of award winners, including glory for Suffolk and North Essex, was unveiled at the Chelsea Flower Show, today.

Most read

Eating Out in the Broads


Click here to view
the Eating Out


Visit the Broads


Click here to view
the Visit the Broads


Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24