Neil White’s prison memoir “In the Sanctuary of Outcasts” is being developed as a movie by veteran producer Stratton Leopold, with Dax Phelan writing the adaptation, Variety has learned exclusively.
White was a successful publisher in the early 1990s before being arrested for bank fraud. His book was published in 2010 by Morrow, 15 years after he served 12 months of an 18-month sentence in a minimum security prison in Carville, La. The facility served as a home to quarantined patients of leprosy, also known as Hansen’s Disease.
His account details the convergence of inmates from different cultures, prison guards, leprosy patients, public health workers and an order of nuns. White won the author of the year prize in 2010 from the Southern Library Assn.
“I was captivated by White’s transformation from very successful but image-driven magazine publisher to federal convict to the man he is today and, equally, by the enduring impact that the Hansen’s Disease patients have had on his life,” Leopold said.
Leopold’s executive producing credits include “Mission: Impossible III,” “The Sum of All Fears” and “Paycheck.” He was unit production manager on “Captain America: The First Avenger.”
Leopold hired Phelan to adapt the novel “Charlie Two Shoes and the Marines of Love Company.” They collaborated on Phelan’s feature directorial debut, the thriller “Jasmine,” starring Byron Mann, Jason Tobin and Eugenia Yuan. “Jasmine” premiered in March at the 39th Hong Kong Intl. Film Festival.
Phelan also teamed with Oren Moverman to exec produce Anja Marquardt’s “She’s Lost Control,” which debuted at the Berlin Film Festival last year and won the CICAE award.
Leopold is represented by APA and Michael Sherman at Reed Smith. Phelan is repped by Robert Lazar at the Shuman Co. and Robert M. Szymanski at Eclipse Law Corp.