Chiwetel Ejiofor
Mat Hayward/Getty Images

Chiwetel Ejiofor has been set to play a convicted British drug trafficker in a movie version of “Marching Powder: A True Story of Friendship, Cocaine, and South America’s Strangest Jail.”

New Regency has obtained the movie rights to the 2003 book, written by Australian journalist Rusty Young and Thomas McFadden about McFadden’s life in the San Pedro Prison in La Paz, Bolivia.

Young lived for three months inside the prison, where McFadden ran tours. Inmates are expected to buy their cells from real estate agents; corrupt politicians and drug lords live in luxury; and the poorest prisoners are subjected to deprivation and the constant threat of violence.

Jerry Kalajian will exec produce.

“Marching Powder” was previously set up in 2008 with Don Cheadle playing McFadden and Jose Pahilha directing. At that point, Cheadle was producing through his Crescendo Prods. along with Plan B’s Brad Pitt, Periscope Entertainment’s David Guy Levy and Benjamin Goldhirsh of Good Worldwide.

Ejiofor received a best actor Oscar nomination for “12 Years a Slave.” He will be seen next in John Hillcoat’s thriller ‘Triple Nine.”

Ejiofor is repped by CAA and Alex Irwin of Markham Froggatt and Irwin.

The news was first reported by Deadline.com.

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