‘The Reluctant Communist’ North Korean Survival Tale to Be Adapted as Series (EXCLUSIVE)

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The fact-based story about former U.S. Army sergeant Charles Robert Jenkins’ four decades of living in North Korea is to be produced as an English-language limited TV series.

Peter Landesman (“Concussion,” “Parkland,” “Kill the Messenger”) will direct the series for South Korean financing and production company Moving Pictures Company (Netflix music drama “Wish You,” WeTV series “Nobleman Ryu’s Wedding”).

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Writer Nick Osborne, who most recently adapted the “Last of the Mohicans” series for HBO Max, is adapting the non-fiction book “The Reluctant Communist: My Desertion, Court-Martial, and Forty-Year Imprisonment in North Korea,” co-written by Jenkins and Time journalist Jim Frederick.

Events began in 1965, some 13 years after the end of the inter-Korean war, when Jenkins abandoned his post in South Korea and walked across the militarized border into North Korea. He believed his action would get him back to the U.S. and earn him a short jail sentence. Instead, he found himself in another sort of prison, living for 40 years under a repressive Communist autocracy. The continuing tale reveals the inner workings of the North Korean hermit kingdom and is a powerful testament to the human survival instinct.

Executive producing the series are: Paul Merryman, through his Merryman Media company; Landesman; Thomas Suh, through his production company Systeme D Entertainment; and Osborne. Lee Hyung-gu, VP of Moving Pictures Company, will co-executive produce the series alongside Charlotte Greensit (Frederick’s widow).

“Once I heard it I couldn’t stop thinking about this mythic story of two young people kidnapped and ripped from all they knew, who find love and hope, and humanity, not despite their trauma, but through their trauma. They don’t just survive, they thrive where others wither and die,” said Landesman.

He is represented by CAA, Management, and law firm Jackoway Austen Tyerman Wertheimer Mandelbaum Morris Bernstein Trattner & Klein. Osborne is represented by CAA, Anonymous Content, and law firm Bloom Hergott Diemer Rosenthal Laviolette & Feldman.

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