Published Mar 24, 2017Jake Gyllenhaal and Daniel Espinosa recently teamed up for the sci-fi film Life, which opens this weekend. That movie has gained some solid reviews, so it only makes sense that they'd join forces again. Their next project, however, is drawing criticism from the real-life soldier that it's based on.
Yesterday, The Hollywood Reporter explained that Gyllenhaal and Espinosa were set to make a film based on the Rolling Stone article "The Anarchists vs. the Islamic State." The piece followed a loose knit group of American socialists who are fighting against ISIS alongside Kurdish militia the YPG in Syria.
Brace Belden is the most prominent figure in the Rolling Stone piece, and he's not too keen on the proposed movie. A Maximumrocknroll columnist and former member of the Bay Area punk bands Warkrime and Wild Thing, he's since emerged as a prominent Twitter user delivering hilarious updates from the frontlines under the handle PissPigGranddad.
Belden says he had no idea the film was being made at all. Speaking with Exclaim!, he also takes issue with the proposed project's synopsis. "We didn't come here to 'start a commune in the rubble,'" he says. "That's awful Orientalist garbage. Syrians live here."
"I'm here to defend the Apoist revolution and lend my physical support to the Turkish Marxist Leninist parties fighting here," he adds.
While it's unlikely that he'll be able to do anything to stop the film from being made, don't expect to see Belden walking the red carpet at its premiere. After all, he says that getting involved with the project in any capacity would be "corny" and "anti-revolutionary."
UPDATE (03/30): Seth Harp, author of the original Rolling Stone article, has responded to Belden's comments. He made the following statement to Exclaim!:
It's not true that there's a movie in the works based on the life of Brace Belden/PissPigGrandad. The article I wrote was not a profile of any one person. I started reporting it in November 2015, one year before he arrived in Syria. Of the 75 to 100 leftist volunteers currently in Rojava, I interviewed 12 of them, and had space to write about seven, only one of whom was Brace. Anything he has to say about the project should be taken with that in mind.