EXCLUSIVE: A major pre-emptive spec-script deal has just closed, with Amy Pascal’s Pascal Pictures acquiring Christopher Cosmos’ American Rebel. It is based on the true story of Deborah Sampson, who risked her life during the Revolutionary War by disguising herself as a man and joining the Continental Army.



We’re hearing that the deal is for high-six figures for the tale that reads like an American version of Mulan; the spec was a buzzy item around town this week that has piqued the interest of top actresses and directors. Madhouse Entertainment’s Adam Kolbrenner will also be producing. This is Cosmos’ first big sale. Pascal has a deal at Sony Pictures so presumably this pic would land at the studio.

Sampson, born in December 1760 in Massachusetts, enlisted in 1781, according to a bio at the National Women’s History Museum. She kept her secret for almost two years, able to avoid doctors (during that time she lied about having had smallpox, was slashed with a sword, and shot in the thigh — she took the bullet out herself to avoid medical treatment), and of course not bathing with fellow soldiers in the Hudson River. In February 1783 her secret was discovered after falling ill to an epidemic in Philadelphia and passing out at the hospital.

She eventually was honorably discharged, had a family and children, and went on a lecture tour. Her husband was awarded her soldier pension after her death, the museum website said, with the Army concluding the war “furnished no other similar example of female heroism, fidelity and courage.”

Cosmos is repped by Paradigm, Madhouse and attorney Joseph Weiner.

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