Guerra to Direct Film Adaptation of J.M. Coetzee’s Award-Winning Book “Waiting For The Barbarians”

Ciro Guerra isn’t Waiting for his Hollywood crossover…

The 35-year-old Colombian film director and screenwriter is partnering with actor Mark Rylance and producer Michael Fitzgerald to adapt J.M. Coetzee’s award-winning book Waiting For The Barbarians for the big screen.

Ciro Guerra

Coetzee, a Nobel Prize winner for literature, adapted the novel, which the Nobel Prize committee called “a political thriller in the tradition of Joseph Conrad, in which the idealist’s naiveté opens the gates to horror.”

Waiting For The Barbarians, which first was published in 1980 and quickly amassed honors, follows a magistrate (to be played by the Oscar-winning Rylance) of a far-flung border outpost as the reckless behavior of the “Empire” he serves threatens to trigger a Barbarian invasion. He begins to question imperialism when he saves a young ‘barbarian’ (one of the indigenous people in the country) and realizes that all is not what it appears to be. After mounting a harrowing escape, he is arrested by his own people and thrown in jail only to escape and eventually become an inspiration and leader to others.

The book, which is considered Coetzee’s master work, won both the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize for fiction. It has been brought to the stage before (Phillip Glass composed a two-act opera for it) but never to the big screen. Coetzee, who is South African but lives in Australia, is one of the most respected authors of this century.

Fitzgerald is the one who pulled the prestigious project together with Rylance and Guerra.

Guerra is currently in pre-production on Birds of Passage which is in pre-production to shoot in the deserts of Colombia in January. The film is the follow-up to his award-winning film Embrace of the Serpent.