×

Helmer high on drug pic

Carnahan hooked on Wright story

Joe Carnahan will co-write and direct a feature about the life of Will Wright, a high school prodigy who at 17 was the catalyst for a $70 million narcotics empire.

FilmEngine is financing and will produce the film.

Carnahan, who is shooting “Smokin’ Aces” for Universal and Working Title, will team with Joseph F. Alexandre to script the story of Wright, who grew up in Blaine, Wash., and seemed the ideal overachieving teenager: The handsome National Merit Scholar was drafted by the Seattle Mariners. Meanwhile, Wright was caught by feds in a sting operation and revealed to be the mastermind of an international drug ring and money-laundering operation. He served eight years and was released two years ago at age 26.

Wright is cooperating in the project, which FilmEngine bought several years ago, based on a batch of press clips and a copy of Wright’s indictment.

Drama is expected to be a crooked coming-of-age tale in the style of “Catch Me if You Can” and falls in with Carnahan’s “Narc” and the adaptation of the Mark Bowden book “Killing Pablo,” chronicling the life and death of drug kingpin Carlo Escobar that Carnahan scripted and is slated to direct.

FilmEngine’s Tyler Mitchell, Anthony Rhulen and A.J. Dix will produce the Wright tale with Carnahan and his producing partner Michelle Grace. Giovanni Agnelli and Scott Bloom will exec produce through their Agnelli/Bloom banner.

“There is something quintessentially American about Will Wright’s story,” Carnahan said.

FilmEngine just wrapped “Lucky Number Slevin,” a drama it sold to the Weinstein Co. In the can is “The Cleaner,” a comedy that New Line will distribute. A sequel of “The Butterfly Effect” is also in the works.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Imax logo

    Imax China Hires Edwin Tan as CEO

    Former conferences and exhibitions executive Edwin Tan has been appointed CEO of Imax China. He replaces Jiande Chen, who now becomes vice chairman of the company, having headed the company since its inception in 2011. Tan was previously CEO of the China business of leading events firm Messe Muenchen. Before that he held roles at [...]

  • Alexander Skarsgard in the front rowGiorgio

    Film News Roundup: Alexander Skarsgard Joins 'Passing' With Tessa Thompson

    In today’s film news roundup, Taryn Manning, Shane West and Alexander Skarsgård have new roles, and Warner Bros. unveils a modernized logo. CASTINGS Alexander Skarsgård has signed on to join Tessa Thompson, Ruth Negga and André Holland in “Passing.” The film marks Rebecca Hall’s directorial debut and is based on a screenplay that Hall adapted [...]

  • Spike Lee

    Spike Lee to Direct Hip-Hop Love Story 'Prince of Cats'

    Spike Lee will direct a big-screen version of the hip-hop love story “Prince of Cats,” based on Ron Wimberly’s graphic novel. Legendary has been developing the project with Janet and Kate Zucker of Zucker Productions. Lee, who won the Academy Award for adapted screenplay for “BlacKkKlansman,” will also re-write the “Prince of Cats” script with [...]

  • DOLEMITE IS MY NAME!, 2019, DOL_Unit_06284.RAF

    'Dolemite Is My Name' Writer Larry Karaszewski Recalls 10-Year Journey to Make Rudy Ray Moore Biopic

    “Harriet” writer-director Kasi Lemmons was in a reflective mood at Tuesday night’s “Behind the Scene” event at the Formosa Cafe in West Hollywood, sponsored by the Writers Guild of America West. The biopic, starring Cynthia Erivo as slave-turned-abolitionist Harriet Tubman, has been receiving buzz since its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. It’s Lemmons’ [...]

  • Writers vs Agents Packaging War WGA

    Abrams Artists Agency Signs Writers Guild Deal

    In a major triumph for the Writers Guild of America, the Abrams Artists Agency has signed the WGA’s Code of Conduct, allowing the agency to return to representing WGA members again. Chairman Adam Bold made the announcement Wednesday, saying that the agency wants to put its clients back to work. He also noted WGA West [...]

  • Taika Waititi and Roman Griffin Davis

    Holocaust Experts Debate 'Jojo Rabbit' at Museum of Tolerance Screening

    With its comedic, cartoonish portrayal of Nazis, Taika Waititi’s satirical Hitler youth tale “Jojo Rabbit” has polarized critics and audiences alike. And that division continued to be stirred at Tuesday night’s screening of the film at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, where Liebe Geft, director of the museum, moderated a heated panel discussion [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content