Team options Herzog's biography of 'pro thief'

CP Prods. and Eric Thompson are hot on the trail of fugitive financier Robert Vesco.

CP partners Michael Cerenzie and Christine Peters have teamed with Thompson to option Arthur Herzog’s “Vesco: From Wall Street to Castro’s Cuba: The Rise, Fall, and Exile of the King of White Collar Crime” as the basis for a film about the man once listed in the Forbes 500 under the job title “professional thief.”

Vesco was accused of stealing $240 million from backers. He eventually went on the lam and, after scamming Cuba’s just elevated leader Raul Castro, wound up broke and under arrest in Cuba.

Cerenzie, Peters and Thompson are producing, while CP’s Graham Kaye will exec produce with Peter Miller, who brokered the rights deal.

“The focus of the film is not just the fact that this man, who started out as a nobody, was able to take advantage of the powerful and wealthy, but that he became a rogue, anti-establishment hero for Wall Street tycoons and the Everyman alike who saw him as a symbol of the chaos and corruption within the system that produced him,” said Cerenzie.

CP is the Paramount-based partnership of Cerenzie (“Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead”) and Peters (“The Friday Night Knitting Club”).

Cerenzie, whose Canadian origins allow him to freely travel to Cuba, will go shortly to visit with Vesco, who’s serving a 13-year prison sentence there, and discuss cooperation.

Vesco was interviewed for the book by Herzog, whose novels “The Swarm” and “Orca” were turned into films in the 1970s and whose “IQ 83″ is being developed by DreamWorks.

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