Announced on Wednesday by Deadline, Fox 2000 has acquired the rights to Silver Wings, teaming with Anonymous Content and Old 320 Sycamore to bring the story to the big screen. Hamilton director Thomas Kail is set to direct the film adaptation. Based on the book by historian Katherine Sharp Landdeck, which is yet to be published, The Women With Silver Wings tells the story of WWII’s WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) and how the individuals were forgotten by the government and by history.
Over 25,000 women applied for WASP in 1942, but only 1,900 qualified women were chosen, and 1,074 made it through training. These female aviators were the first women to fly for the United States military, and flew over 60 million miles in every type of military aircraft during WWII. The goal was to free male pilots for combat roles by employing the talents of these female pilots to ferry aircraft from factories to military bases, as well as tow aerial targets. The majority of the women were white, but the group also included two Chinese-American women, two Mexican-American women, and one Native-American women. The women were denied veteran benefits until 1977, and had to wait until 2009 to be given the Congressional Gold Medal and be recognized as United States veterans.
Landdeck is a professor at Texas Women’s University, who specializes in WWII history, aviation history, and specifically women aviation history. She was nominated for an Emmy Award for her work as Contributing Producer and Historian on the documentary Silver Wings, Flying Dreams: The Compete Story of the Women Airforce Service Pilots. She has been featured in publications such as The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, and USA Today.
Kail is most well-known as a stage director, specifically for his collaboration with Lin Manuel Miranda, directing both the off-broadway and broadway version of Miranda’s musicals In the Heights and Hamilton. This past year he directed the world premiere of Dry Powder starring Hank Azaria, Clare Danes, and John Krasinski at the Public Theater in NYC.
As far as film and television, Kail has directed three episodes of Two Broke Girls, as well as the 2010 Oprah Winfrey Oscar Special. Last year, he also directed Fox’s Grease Live, starring Vanessa Hudgens, Julianne Hough, Keke Palmer, and Carly Rae Jepsen. Last October, he was announced to be the director for Disney’s upcoming modern film adaptation of the musical Oliver!, with Ice Cube attached to star/produce. It’s not yet clear whether Oliver! or Silver Wings will film first, but it seems clear that Kail is certainly making his transition into film.
Stay tuned for more details about Silver Wings.