Good Fear has obtained the life rights of Elizabeth Fink, who was the lead counsel in the federal civil rights case, and ex-con Frank “Big Black” Smith. Bender and Jake Weiner are producing.
In 1974, Fink filed a $2.8 billion civil suit on behalf of inmates against prison guards for torture and abuse during the riot. The five-day revolt left 33 prisoners, and 10 corrections officers and civil employees dead at the maximum-security state prison in western New York.
Fink, who was the lead counsel in the case, won a $12 million settlement from the state in 2000.
Good Fear has tapped Kristen Buckley to adapt the story, which follows Fink and Smith’s work to expose the state cover-up of prisoner abuse. The project has the cooperation of the estates of Fink and Smith, along with access to key players and documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.
“This underdog story of unlikely partners teaming up to fight the system really resonated with us, and remains relevant to today’s society and politics,” Bender and Weiner said. “We are grateful that both estates have entrusted us to tell this story and are excited to work with Kristen.”
Good Fear is prepping David Robert Mitchell’s “Under the Silver Lake” starring Andrew Garfield and Dakota Johnson.
Bender, who dissolved his Benderspink partnership with JC Spink last month, has producing credits on “History of Violence,” “Vacation,” “Ride Along,” “We’re the Millers” and the “Hangover” trilogy.
Buckley’s credits include the novel “The Parker Grey Show,” the film “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days” and the memoir “Tramps Like Us.” Her current movie projects include “The Verge,” a survival movie produced by Josie Rosen and Gulfstream Pictures, and “A Simple Plan,” produced by Alison Greenspan and DiNovi Pictures.
Buckley’s TV projects include the one-hour drama “Independent Variables,” produced by Gregg Fienberg and set in the ’80s against the backdrop of the AIDS crisis, as well as “Eye of the Dawn,” a spy drama that follows the exploits of double agent Mata Hari.
The news was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.