Apr 9, 2014

Tradecraft: True Detective Producers Developing Benedict Arnold Movie

Just as AMC launches it Revolutionary War spy series TURN (review here), Princess Pictures and Anonymous Content (the latter behind HBO's awesome True Detective) are hatching a plot of their own to bring the most notorious spy story of that era to the big screen. Deadline reports that they've acquired the screen rights to The Traitor's Wife by Allison Pataki, a bestselling historical novel focusing on Peggy Shippen Arnold, wife of the notorious turncoat Benedict Arnold. (Question for British readers here: In America, we learn in elementary school to loathe Benedict Arnold as a traitor. In the UK is he taught as a hero? He was, after all, the linchpin of a major British spy ring.) Pataki's presents Peggy as the woman behind the turncoat, alleging that the beautiful socialite half her husband's age was herself an agent working for (and formerly romantically involved with) British spy Major John André, and that it was she who first put Arnold in contact with Andre, the man who would become his controller. When Arnold was exposed and defected to the British, fighting for them against the fledgling Americans, his wife followed him. I haven't read the book, but this sounds like a pretty interesting spy story from the dawn of the United States.


Timrod said...

Not a Brit so I can't speak with certainty, but given that A> the spy ring of which Arnold was lynchpin was exposed without ever doing the British any good B> in a war that they ultimately lost C> thanks in no small part to B.A.'s shrewd and often heroic leadership in the years prior to his treachery (see battles of Saratoga, Ft. Stanwix, Valcour Island, etc.), it seems pretty unlikely that that would be the case.

It would be like if the Dodgers made the 1777 World Series against the Yankees, got shut out in games 1 and 3 when facing Yankees ace lefty Benedict A., who then conspired to throw--literally and figuratively--the deciding game 7 to the Dodgers, but got pulled in the 3rd inning and the Yankees went on to win the Series anyway, would Dodgers fans praise Arnold?

Tanner said...

Ha! Good point, Timrod. He was definitely more effective in that war on our side than he ever was on theirs. I'm still curious though to know if the Brits even do learn about him. Jamie Bell said in an interview about TURN that he didn't really learn ANYTHING about the American Revolution in school, that that part of history was totally glossed over.