Some men just aren’t cut out for life in the military, and Charles Robert Jenkins decided he was one of them. After joining the National Guard, he found himself in South Korea, terrified he’d be sent into Vietnam. Drunk and depressed, he cooked up a plan of defection. He’d cross into North Korea, surrender, and hope they sent him to the Soviet Union. From Russia, he would undoubtedly be part of a future prisoner exchange and get to go home to America. Win win and a world vacation.
But Jenkins’ knowledge of war and sociopolitical reality left a lot to be desired. Turns out, if you surrender to North Korea they keep you, force you to defect, and torture you for 40 years. Jenkins eventually was allowed enough freedom to travel to Japan, where he surrendered to Camp Zama where he was dishonorably discharged from the U.S. military, decades after his blunder. He’s since wrote an account of his imprisonment, and that account is now going to be made into a movie by Brett Ratner.
According to Variety, Ratner has optioned Jenkins’ memoir and plans to direct it. He’s hired John Cheng to pen the screenplay, but hasn’t set it up at a studio, and hasn’t attached any actors. He’s busy with Ben Stiller and Tower Heist, so if you’re a fan of Jenkins’ memoir, expect to wait awhile.
There are thousands of snarky comments to be made here. The last time I criticized a nonfiction book, I received hate mail from the guy (a notorious media figure) who had penned it. I’m not eager to subject myself to that salted slug stomach again. So, I’ll leave the majority of the critical fun to CHUD readers, and restrict myself to this wacky scenario…
Imagine you’re a soldier, and you’ve written some war torn memoirs. They sell well, and your agent calls. Your book has been optioned by a big Hollywood director!” Your mind would go wild! “Is it Werner Herzog? Peter Weir? Steven Spielberg?”
“No!” says your agent. “It’s Brett Ratner, director of the Rush Hour movies and X-Men 3.”