Universal and Lorne Michaels Developing Movie About Navy SEAL Who Killed Osama bin Laden

The studio acquires the feature rights to Robert O’Neill’s “The Operator”

Lorne Michaels The Operator
Getty Images/Simon and Schuster

Universal Pictures and Lorne Michaels’ production company, Broadway Video, have purchased the feature film rights to “The Operator,” a book by former Navy SEAL Robert O’Neill about how he fired the shots that killed Osama bin Laden, an individual with knowledge of the project told TheWrap.

The full title of the New York Times bestselling book is “The Operator: Firing the Shots that Killed Osama bin Laden and My Years as a SEAL Team Warrior.” Michael Russell Gunn, who is currently a supervising producer on “Billions,” is adapting the screenplay.

“SNL” boss Michaels is producing the film, with Erin David and Sammy Perlmutter overseeing for Broadway Video, and Kristin Lowe and Mika Pryce overseeing for Universal. O’Neill is also executive producing.

Based on his accounts in “The Operator,” O’Neill had been involved in several other operations that have since been turned into films, including the attempt to rescue Marcus Luttrell in what became “Lone Survivor” and the story that became Paul Greengrass’s “Captain Phillips.”

But the book culminates in the death of the 9/11 orchestrator bin Laden. It also follows O’Neill’s childhood in Butte, Montana, his decision to enlist in the military and the intense counter-terror effort he endured for over a decade in the aftermath of 9/11.

Gunn also wrote the historical drama “The Virginian,” which landed on the Black List and sold to New Line. Gunn is repped by WME, Artists First and attorney David Fox.

Deadline was first to report.