A television movie on John Walker Lindh, the 21-year-old Californian captured with Taliban fighters in Afghanistan, is being developed by Artisan Television and the FX cable channel to air in 2003.

Lindh was returned to the United States and indicted in federal court for conspiring to murder U.S. nationals, providing services to al-Qaida and the Taliban, and using firearms during crimes of violence. Jury selection for his trial is scheduled to begin Aug. 26.

John Romano, writer and producer of the Party of Five TV drama, has been hired to write the Lindh script, with Artisan Pictures CEO Bob Cooper as executive producer.

Romano and others involved in the project said the film with the working title American Taliban would attempt to explain what motivated Lindh. The two-hour film project is currently using information in the public domain as its basis, while its creators hope to obtain more specific source material.

Romano told Daily Variety for its Wednesday editions: "I was compelled by the profound psychological and political mystery of this kid. How does someone grow up in Marin County with all the benefits that America has to offer, and then end up in Afghanistan with an AK-47?"

He also is a consulting producer on an NBC drama American Dreams, set in the days just after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, to be aired in the fall.