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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Hollywood Considers Beslan Film

A major Hollywood studio has secured the rights to film a movie about the Beslan school attack based on a magazine article by The New York Times reporter C.J. Chivers.

The article, titled "The School" and slated to appear in the June edition of the U.S. edition of Esquire, is largely centered around a father who was shot and left for dead on the first day of the three-day hostage-taking in 2004 that killed 331 people, more than half of them children.

Universal Studios and Imagine Entertainment bought an option to the 18,000-word article last week, Chivers said Thursday.

"We have worked very closely for many months and visited with the former hostages and the bereaved residents of Beslan. It has been a long and intensive undertaking ... conducted with great care and respect," Chivers said. "It is my belief that Imagine and Universal are approaching their project with the same intention and standard of care."

He refused to disclose the fee he would be paid if the story is turned into a movie, citing a request from Universal.

Universal executives could not immediately be reached for comment.

But Brian Glazer, an Imagine Entertainment producer whose works include Oscar-winning films "A Beautiful Mind" and "Apollo 13," said in a statement that "The School" was "a story that cries out to be told on the big screen."

"I have no doubt it will make an unforgettable motion picture," Glazer said.

If Universal decides to go ahead, it would be the first feature film about the attack, which was organized by Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev.

"We knew that such a film would be shot one day," said Anneta Gadiyeva, who lost a child in the attack and is a member of the Mothers of Beslan support group. "All we ask from the moviemakers is that they do not attempt to justify the attack and do not depict the terrorists, including the female suicide bombers, as victims deserving compassion."

She predicted it would be a challenge for filmmakers and actors to convey the shock, despair and anguish of the more than 1,200 hostages on the big screen. "It should be a black-and-white movie," she said.