KJ Apa, one of the young stars of “Riverdale,” is next set to star in “West Pointer,” a military drama for director Rod Lurie and Lionsgate.
Lurie, who most recently directed “The Outpost” from last year, will write and direct “West Pointer,” which is set at the military academy West Point and stars Apa as a cocky student who graduated top of his class in high school but now enters a community where everyone is best of the best.
The film draws from Lurie’s own experience graduating from West Point in 1984 before going on to serve four years as a Combat Arms officer in the U.S. Army. The filmmakers are also requesting to film on location at West Point in New York, though no film has been shot there since the 1950s.
KJ Apa will also executive produce “West Pointer,” and Lurie will both write and direct and produce with his longtime producing partner Marc Frydman, along with Matt Luber and Mike Weber.
“Ever since I was a cadet I daydreamed about one day making a movie set at West Point, which I believe to be the greatest college in the world,” Lurie said. “As they say, the history they teach there was made by the men and women they taught. A motion picture has not been shot at the Academy since the 1950s. It would be the honor of a lifetime to be granted that permission. I want the world to learn what I know about my alma mater.”
The film will be overseen by Meredith Wieck and Jorge Alfaro. Dan Freedman oversaw the deal for Lionsgate.
“We’re huge fans of KJ’s talent, and had a great experience working with him and his team on ‘I Still Believe,'” Erin Westerman, president of production for Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, said in a statement. “This project is a perfect fit for him as a star, and we’re thrilled to be developing it with Rod, who envisions a film that captures what happens in a class of the world’s most elite military academy, where our best and brightest young people are supposed to be molded into tomorrow’s leaders.”
KJ Apa recently starred in another Lionsgate film, the music biopic “I Still Believe” about Christian music star Jeremy Camp. He also recently appeared in the pandemic thriller “Songbird” and recently completed shooting the fifth season of “Riverdale.” He is represented by UTA, Luber Roklin Entertainment and Mandy Jacobson at Red 11 Management.
Rod Lurie’s “The Outpost” is based on a book by CNN anchor Jake Tapper and was released last summer to critical acclaim. He is represented by A3 Artists Agency and Gang Tyre Ramer & Brown.
Deadline first reported the news.