NEW YORK – New Line Cinema preempted several bidders for screen rights to “The G-Man and the Hit Man,” an article in the Dec. 16 issue of the New Yorker by Fredric Dannen. The studio made a six-figure upfront option on the article, which became the most sought-after movie property generated by the magazine since Michael Korda’s reminiscences about editing Jacqueline Susann’s work was sold to TriStar last year.
The film will be produced at New Line by the mother-daughter team of Sydell and Cari-Esta Albert. The studio was especially aggressive in beating out George Clooney and Robert Lawrence for Disney, Quincy Jones for Warner Bros. and Mario Kassar at Paramount. The New Line bid was spearheaded by production prexy Michael De Luca and veep Lynn Harris. At midnight on Wednesday, they made the six-figure preemptive bid to Dannen’s lit agent, Evva Pryor of McIntosh and Otis, who was given a 12-hour expiration date. Once Dannen got the nod to retain pub rights for an anthology of his crime articles, they took the deal.
Dannen, who wrote the bestselling music industry expose “Hit Men,” this time focused on a real hitman and his startlingly close relationship with the FBI. Gregory Scarpa Sr. was a key member and enforcer of the Colombo crime family, as well as an FBI informant. Scarpa was close to his FBI contact, veteran agent Lin DeVecchio, whose colleagues fingered him as being Scarpa’s information pipeline into the feds. The mobster, who died of AIDS, was able to carry out murders, and always seemed to know when his criminal operations were being targeted.
‘Compromise and seduction’
“It’s a true story of moral compromise and seduction, and the danger of forming an alliance with a criminal to fight the war on crime,” said Dannen, who had exclusive access to many key figures in the case. With the “G-Man” deal, Dannen has gotten options on his last three articles for the magazine. DreamWorks SKG and producer Jeff Apple are adapting “The Supernote,” an article Dannen wrote with Ira Silverman in the Oct. 23, 1995, issue about an almost perfect counterfeit $100 bill being smuggled in from a Mideast country as a form of economic terrorism. Dannen and Silverman also teamed up on “A Complicated Life,” an article about F. Lee Bailey’s jail stretch. The article, which appeared in the March 11 issue, has been optioned by Robert Halmi Sr. and Hallmark Entertainment, along with John Levoff at New Frontier Entertainment for a telepic.