I am very excited to learn that Actor Tom Hardy is set to star in a movie based on the Anthony Lloyd book My War Gone by By, I Miss it So. I can’t think of any actor better suited, can you? Hardy brings a deadly seriousness and dignity to the roles he plays.
I don’t recall why I picked up this book to read but once I began to turn the pages I realized how profoundly poetic and shocking a read it would be. The story is told by Lloyd, and describes his up close and personal visit to Bosnia. There is nothing beautiful about war but Lloyd’s ability to write and his recollection of his events was mesmerizing. So visceral.
Lloyd longed for the fury of war but felt he missed it as a British military commander during Desert Storm. He believed his time in service was anticlimactic. At 26, he decided to travel into Bosnia for a peek into the brutality of war and see its terrifyingly seductive power for himself. In doing so, he meets a colorful cast of characters and he sees things that trouble his nights with nightmares.
He recalls a French Foreign Legionnaire forever confined to a wheelchair, and the awful vision of a child’s face that haunts him. He discusses society in breakdown and shows the best and worst of people during war-time. He is suicidal, a drug user, perhaps a liar, but he can write and he can write well. His book is written with a tender view on gory and painful subject matters that take place in the mountains and cities of a broken world. But it is not the world that solely needs fixing, because Lloyd needs to fix himself. In traveling to Bosnia, he just may find the redemption he is seeking. Here is an excerpt:
“…bullets are seldom as unnerving as shellfire. It was logical that as long as you stayed away from the windows you would be unlucky to get hit, though the odd ricochet pinballed between the walls in an unpleasant series of whines and thwacks. So I lit a cigarette, dumped the rucksack, and installed myself in a suitable corner and watched what happened.
The first thing I noticed was the way the fighters’s faces seemed contorted: eyes wide, jaws clenched, mouths grimacing, skins oily with sweat. Nobody was still for more han a few seconds. It was as if small dust devils of energy would ripple one group or another into action, something close to a hysteria of juddering gun barrels, feverish concentration and tensed muscle, followed by an almost post-coital backwash when a firer would slide behind the cover of a wall, head lolling slightly, sometimes uttering an unnatural peal of relieved laughter, near to a giggle, to anyone who made glittering eye contact.
Then the vibe would rip into another part of the room, and that would suddenly convulse into activity and noise. There were the occasional shouts, grunts, and hoarse directives, all but lost to the overwhelming Kalahsnikov-crackling tempo and the jingle of falling brass…”
“Over a three-week period in the autumn of 1993, the fate of Vareš opened before me like a perverted fairytale. The cast included the Muslim folk of a forest village, a murderous pilgrim rogue and his band of killers in the valley below, a serb warrior who had the skull of an imam mounted on his jeep, and the embattled forces of good, represented by a company of Swedish troops.”
He must come home and deal with his own psychological scars and substance abuse. I hope they do not screw this up!
“My War Gone By is a brutal yet sensitive story which addresses both the nature of addiction and the experience of war,” Hardy tells Variety. “I was struck by Anthony’s work and words, experiences, and for me his is an important voice and an important book.”
Hardy recruited his Warrior director Gavin O’Connor to co-produce the movie. “Anthony’s memoir was love at first page – a portrait of war like I’d never read before,” O’Connor says. “An up-close-and-personal account of a heroin junkie reporting from the front lines of Bosnia – the bloodiest conflict Europe has witnessed since the Second World War – who uses the high of war to kick his drug habit. It’s a book written with both fists. It’s Anthony’s Apocalypse Now. I feel privileged and honored for the opportunity to bring the book to the movies.”
He went to school for journalism and then went to Bosnia with a vague plan to cover the ongoing war. He started taking pictures but almost by accident an American reporter offered to buy some that he saw. So Loyd became a war photographer supporting himself by selling photos for 50 Deutschemarks per photograph. Much later Loyd was traveling taking photos with British forces around Travnik, central Bosnia and Herzegovina about 90 km west of Sarajevo. While covering a fire fight a French correspondent who was writing for The Daily Telegraph was wounded by a claymore mine set off by the Croat HVO forces. The wounded correspondent asked Loyd to fill in until the paper could send a replacement, Loyd agreed and so started his first job as a journalist. Afterwards he was put on retainer by The Times of London and regularly sent to war zones around the world.
Among the wars he reported were the conflicts in Bosnia, Kosovo, Chechnya, Afghanistan, Sierra Leone and Iraq. Loyd was noted for the risks he took in pursuing his stories. His most recent bylines (as of 15 September 2005) have been from Baghdad, where he has been out on patrol with both the American and Iraqi forces.
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