Jim Mickle Signs on to Direct ‘Esperanza’
Jim Mickle is set to direct Legendary Pictures’ Esperanza, an adaptation of John Maclean’s 2013 book The Esperanza Fire.
Esperanza will be based on the 2006 Esperanza Fire, for which arsonist Raymond Oyler was convicted of the murder of a five-man Forest Service engine crew who died fighting the fire.
When a jury returns to a packed courtroom to announce its verdict in a capital murder case every noise, even a scraped chair or an opening door, resonates like a high-tension cable snap. Spectators stop rustling in their seats; prosecution and defense lawyers and the accused stiffen into attitudes of wariness; and the judge looks on owlishly. In that atmosphere of heightened expectation the jury entered a Riverside County Superior Court room in southern California to render a decision in the trial of Raymond Oyler, charged with murder for setting the Esperanza Fire of 2006, which killed a five man Forest Service engine crew sent to fight the blaze.
Today, wildland fire is everybody’s business, from the White House to the fireground. Wildfires have grown bigger, more intense, more destructive—and more expensive. Federal taxpayers, for example, footed most of the $16 million bill for fighting the Esperanza Fire. But the highest cost was the lives of the five-man crew of Engine 57, the first wildland engine crew ever to be wiped out by flames.
Oyler was sentenced to death in 2009. Maclean’s book and the film tell the story of both the crew who fought against the California wildfire as well as Oyler’s lengthy trial.
Mickle most recently directed Cold in July, and has also recently helmed We Are What We Are and Stake Land and Sean O’Keefe is writing the script.