Using historical figures in fiction is a pretty common trick. It can add an air of reality to the story, or sometimes, it's just a little in-joke for the audience. But when you use a controversial figure from history in a fictional story, can you run the risk of re-writing the past?

Dreamworks has optioned the film rights to the Hampton Sides novel Blood and Thunder: An Epic Of The American West. Dreamworks have yet to attach a writer or producer to the film, so the project is still in the early stages. Set in the nineteenth century, the book focuses on the settlers of the American Southwest. The author uses Kit Carson as a central figure in the book and takes the title from the lurid stories published about his exploits. Carson had a bloody history during the Navajo and Southern Plane campaigns during the Civil War. The novel uses him as the example of the dark side of the frontier legacy.

Using fiction to teach us about the past is always tricky; accuracy and storytelling don't always necessarily work together. As the saying goes, "History is written by the winners" -- and in the movies the winners are the ones with final script approval.

[via Empire Online]
categories Movies, Cinematical