Helmer a made man for drama
David Ayer is on the “Mafia Cop” beat after inking a deal to rewrite and direct the police hitman saga for Mandalay and Universal Pictures.
Project is based on the life and story of Louis Eppolito, who was convicted this past spring of murdering for the mob while serving as an NYPD detective.
Mandalay had won rights to Eppolito’s life rights as well as to a tome he wrote with Bob Drury, “Mafia Cop: The Story of an Honest Cop Whose Family Was the Mob.”
Ayer recently made his helming debut on an indie “Harsh Times,” starring Christian Bale; MGM picked it up for distribution. As a scribe, his credits include “Training Day.” He’s also penned Warner Bros.’ “Cartel,” a remake of Sam Peckinpah’s “The Wild Bunch,” and is attached to direct.
Eppolito, whose father was a member of Gotham’s Gambino crime family, and his NYPD partner Stephen Caracappa were found guilty of eight murders committed from 1986 to 1990. Three of them were mob hits they carried out directly — including sometimes using the lights on their patrol car to pull over the victims.
Eppolito left the force in 1990, followed by Caracappa in 1990, and prosecutors soon began investigating their work for the Mafia, but the two weren’t charged and arrested until 2005.
Eppolito’s “Mafia Cop” book was first published in 1992. Since leaving the force, he had pursued an acting career in Hollywood, landing bit parts in Martin Scorsese’s “GoodFellas,” “State of Grace,” “Bullets Over Broadway” and “Predator 2.”
David Zelon of Mandalay is producing the bigscreen adaptation. Eli Baron, who first brought rights to Mandalay, is exec producing through his High Society Pictures banner.
Dan Gordon penned the first draft of the screenplay after attending the ex-cops’ three-week trial in Brooklyn earlier this year.
Ayer is repped by CAA.