Written by on Feb 4, 2015. Posted in On Location

The Weinstein Company to film true-life sniper TV drama The Reaper

A summer shoot is being set up by The Weinstein Company for TV drama The Reaper based on the experiences of Nicholas Irving, a sniper with the US Army’s 3rd Ranger Battalion. The series will follow the stunning success of American Sniper, which tells the story of marksman Chris Kyle.

Taking its title from Irving’s nickname and also the title of his memoir, The Reaper will tell the story of how the sniper tallied 33 kills over four months in Iraq in 2009.

American Sniper (right) recreated Iraq mainly at a standing Middle Eastern set at the Blue Cloud Movie Ranch in California, and on location in Morocco.

The movie was directed by Clint Eastwood and features Bradley Cooper as both star and producer. In a few short weeks it has become the most successful war film of all time.

The Weinstein Company could choose to take inspiration from American Sniper’s international location choices for The Reaper.

Morocco is one of the most popular filming locations in the world for desert and Middle Eastern settings, offering suitable visuals, a skilled crew base and studio facilities.

American Sniper recreated Iraq at a standing Middle Eastern set in California, and on location near Rabat in Morocco.

South Africa could also be on the shortlist and indeed doubled for Iraq in the acclaimed 2008 miniseries Generation Kill.

In the Middle East itself, security has been an issue for film shoots over the past couple of years with ongoing conflicts in Iraq, Syria and, last summer, in Israel.

Jordan is attracting limited international production and Abu Dhabi secured filming for Star Wars: The Force Awakens through its 30% filming incentive.

Iraq doubles in the US are limited but cost-effective. Filming in California is likely to be a cheaper option for The Reaper by the summer following an overhaul of the incentive programme.

New Mexico is also a realistic option and is the easiest US choice for productions seeking desert locations. The south-western state offers a 30% filming incentive for TV shoots, along with experienced crew and well-equipped studio facilities in Albuquerque.

Mark Wahlberg’s hit war drama Lone Survivor doubled New Mexico for the mountains of Afghanistan and the state will stand-in for the Middle East in the upcoming TV drama Stanistan.

Breaking Bad prequel series Better Call Saul is set to bring New Mexico an additional profile boost when it makes its debut in the coming weeks.

(Lone Survivor photo: Greg Peters/Universal Pictures; American Sniper photo: Keith Bernstein / Warner Bros. Entertainment)

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