Paramount nabs ‘Wheeler Dealers’

Studio acquires pitch on munitions deal gone awry

Paramount has set up “Wheeler Dealers,” acquiring Michael Lerner’s pitch based on the tale of a recent munitions contract gone awry.

Paramount has set the project up at Will Smith and James Lassiter’s Overbrook Entertainment and Brett Ratner’s Rat Entertainment.

Lerner will write the script. “Wheeler Dealers” will be based on the story of Efraim Diveroli, whose AEY company received a $300 million contract in 2007 to supply ordnance to Afghan security forces. Diveroli pleaded guilty this week to plotting to ship prohibited Chinese ammunition to the war and was sentenced to four years in federal prison.

Lerner sold his spec script “Game Theory” last year to Summit, which set up the project with Temple Hill, Alex Goldstone and Adam Shulman. Story’s focused on a college professor and game theorist who gets sucked into a large-scale global incident.

Lerner is a former foreign correspondent for Newsweek and a freelance journalist who covered the war in Afghanistan and the fall of apartheid in South Africa.

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