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HBO, Karlin option ‘Jefferson Bottles’

Network, producer uncork forgery tale

HBO Films and producer Ben Karlin have optioned “The Jefferson Bottles,” a New Yorker article by Patrick Radden Keefe.

Piece follows a billionaire’s quest to see if he was duped after buying French wine dated 1787 and purportedly owned by Thomas Jefferson.

The article will be developed as a feature film to be released by Picturehouse through its joint venture deal with HBO. It also uncorks the overall producing deal HBO recently made with Karlin, the Emmy winning producer of “The Daily Show With Jon Stewart” and co-creator and exec producer of “The Colbert Report.”

Billionaire Bill Koch spent $500,000 at a Christie’s auction to add the Jefferson bottles to a memorabilia collection.

When Koch discovered the bottles might be bogus, he hired a former FBI agent to spearhead an investigation that to date has cost twice what Koch paid for the wine.

The scandal, which introduced the notion of wine forgery, has turned the wine collecting world on its ear.

“I just love the eccentricity behind this world — a billionaire who’d spend that much for wine he was never going to drink and was willing to spend way more for vindication,” said Karlin, who’ll assign a writer shortly.

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