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Story of Alberta woman held hostage in Somalia bought by Hollywood film company

September 6, 2011. A little over three years after former Canadian freelance photojournalist Amanda Lindhout was kidnapped on the outskirts of Mogadishu, Somalia she has returned to Somalia to provide aid to its needy.

Peter Power/The Globe and Mail

A best-selling memoir by an Alberta woman held hostage in Somalia has been optioned by a Hollywood movie production company and Oscar-nominated actor Rooney Mara.

Amanda Lindhout's "A House in the Sky" details torture and abuse the freelance journalist endured while she was held captive for 15 months, along with an Australian photographer.

The book, co-authored by Sara Corbett, a contributing writer with the New York Times Magazine, has been on several bestseller lists since it was released last fall.

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Annapurna Pictures says in a news release there was a competitive pursuit for the book's movie rights.

The company has produced award-winning films such as "American Hustle," "Her" and "Zero Dark Thirty."

Mara was nominated for an Academy Award in 2012 for her performance in "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo."

The release says the book is to be developed as a starring vehicle for Mara, who will also serve as a producer of the movie.

"Rooney Mara is someone whose talent and adventurous spirit I admire deeply," Lindhout, 33, says in the release.

"I'm thrilled that she's teaming with Annapurna Pictures to bring "A House in the Sky" to the screen. I can't imagine a better match."

In the book, Lindhout recounts her childhood in Red Deer and the time she spent working as a cocktail waitress in Calgary before she became a travel junkie turned journalist.

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She and Nigel Brennan, an ex-boyfriend, were on their way to do a story about a camp for displaced people outside Mogadishu in August 2008 when they were taken by a group of armed men hoping to exchange their release for ransom money.

They were not released until November 2009.

The book reveals how the families of the kidnapped pair eventually gave up on the Canadian and Australian governments and co-ordinated their release through a private hostage negotiator. About $600,000 went to the kidnappers and the same amount paid the negotiator's fees.

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