Viggo Mortensen and Caleb Jones will star in a Vietnam War thriller about the forgotten American hero, Hugh Thompson, called Two Wolves. Alex Gibney, the Oscar-winning documentarian, will direct.
On March 16, 1968, American soldiers killed, raped, and tortured more than 500 Vietnamese women, children, babies, and old men at the village of Mi Lai. It’s one of the most horrific and bloody chapters in America’s history and a stain on the nation. But it could have been much worse.
Hugh Thomspon, a U.S. Army helicopter pilot and his crew, saw the massacre and were horrified. Thomspon repeatedly landed his helicopter between U.S. soldiers and Vietnamese civilians to stop the killing. And confronted superior officers, demanding they pull their troops back, Stars and Stripes reported in 2016. He airlifted wounded Vietnamese civilians away from the Americans during the massacre. And he consistently put himself in the line of fire in the hopes that it would end the bloodshed.
After it was over, Thompson reported what he’d witnessed to his superior officers. Soldiers branded him a traitor and a turncoat.
Two Wolves will focus on General William ‘Ray’ Peers investigation into Thompson’s accusations to uncover the truth of Mi Lai, Deadline reported. It’s believed Viggo Mortensen will play Peers and Jones will star as Hugh Thompson.
“This is a film I have wanted to make for seven years. Now that I have the right team in place, we can tell this powerful tale,” Alex Gibney said in a press release. “It’s a true story about how everyday people can become heroes, not through supernatural powers, but through a commitment to do the right thing in the worst possible circumstances. Since Enron, I’ve been making films about people who abuse their power. This is a film about two men who fought back.”
Hugh Thompson Honored For Valor Years Later
Intelligence reports at Mi Lai claimed the village was full of enemy spies. That intel was wrong, but soldiers seemed bent on punishing the villagers. After Hugh Thompson and his crew stepped in and the shooting stopped, the cover-up began.
Thompson received the distinguished flying cross for what was then reported as aiding civilians “caught in a crossfire,” Stars and Stripes reported. He threw the award in the trash. It was years before the scope of what happened that day was revealed to the public.
The Army only ever held one soldier accountable for the massacre at Mi Lai. A military court sentenced Lt. William Calley to 20 years in prison, but that was commuted to 10 years. He ended up serving only 3 years of house arrest. He apologized years later, it was reported. Several other soldiers that participated in the killing on that day in 1968 came forward later and apologized for their role.
The Army eventually awarded Hugh Thompson the Soldier’s Medal in 1998, 30 years after Mi Lai, for his bravery and conviction. Though, he said he felt guilty all of his life for not acting sooner.
Thompson died in 2006 of cancer. He was 62.