In April 2004, Lieutenant Colonel Michael Strobl, USMC, came across the name of 19-year-old Lance Corporal Chance Phelps, a young Marine who had been killed by hostile fire in Al Anbar Province, Iraq. Strobl, a Desert Storm veteran with 17 years of military service, requested that he be assigned for military escort duty to accompany Chance’s remains to his family in Dubois, Wyo.
Witnessing the spontaneous outpouring of support and respect for the fallen Marine – from the groundskeepers he passed along the road to the cargo handlers at the airport – Strobl was moved to capture the experience in his personal journal. His first-person account, which began as an official trip report, gives an insight into the military’s policy of providing a uniformed escort for all casualties. The story became an Internet phenomenon when it was widely circulated throughout the military community and eventually reached the mainstream media.
‘Taking Chance’ chronicles one of the silent, virtually unseen journeys that takes place every day across the country, bearing witness to the fallen and all those who, literally and figuratively, carry them home. A uniquely non-political film about the war in Iraq, the film pays tribute to all of the men and women who have given their lives in military service as well as their families.
An HBO Films presentation of a Motion Picture Corporation of America and Civil Dawn Pictures production, Taking Chance marks the directorial debut of two-time Oscar®-nominated producer Ross Katz (‘Lost in Translation’). The screenplay is by Lt. Col Michael R. Strobl, USMC (Ret.) and Ross Katz, based on the journal of the same name by Strobl, who also serves as military consultant. Strobl, who recently retired after serving 24 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, developed the original story with the strong support of Phelps’ parents, John Phelps and Gretchen Mack.
The executive producers are Brad Krevoy (‘A Love Song for Bobby Long’), Cathy Wischner-Sola and Ross Katz; the co-executive producer is William Teitler (HBO’s ‘Empire Falls’); and the producer is Lori Keith Douglas (‘The Notorious Bettie Page’). HBO Films vice president Jenni Sherwood is the executive in charge of the production.
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Be sure to catch the premiere of Taking Chance on Saturday, February 21 at 8 p.m. ET/PT—only on HBO.