The studio and Paramount-based production company won an auction for T.J. English’s upcoming book “The Corporation: An Epic Story of the Cuba American Underworld.” The nonfiction book will be published in 2017 by William Morrow. David Matthews, a writer on the HBO series “Vinyl,” will adapt the book.
The story centers on Jose Miguel Battle Sr. (“El Padrino”), the leader of “The Corporation.” Battle served as key operative for Cuban leader Fulgencio Batista, bringing him his cut from the gambling casinos when the mafia ran Cuba.
Battle — also known as the Godfather — escaped to the United States when Fidel Castro took over Cuba in 1959 and was trained by the CIA to invade the country at the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion. Having saved the lives of 28 of his men, he started out running a numbers racket and soon moved on to money laundering and murder.
Battle and his associates never gave up the dream of killing Castro and reclaiming Cuba as they became financiers of the anti-Castro movement. The Corporation would survive and grow until finally being brought down by a detective who pursued them relentlessly for over 15 years.
DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson will produce with The Picture Company’s Andrew Rona and Alex Heineman. Paramount’s purchase of “The Corporation” rights came a week after it signed DiCaprio and his Appian Way production company to a first look deal.
Paradigm handled “The Corporation” deal for rights holders Jaydee Freixas and Tony Gonzalez, who will also produce. Other bidders included Sony, Brett Ratner’s Ratpac and Universal.
Appian Way is currently in post-production on Ben Affleck’s “Live by Night” (2017) and in pre-production on “Robin Hood: Origins” (2017). It recently produced “The Revenant,” which earned DiCaprio the first Oscar of his career; “Wolf of Wall Street”; and “Out of the Furnace.”
The Picture Company is in pre-production on Liam Neeson’s “The Commuter.”
Del Toro starred in “Sicario” and will play a villain in “Star Wars: Episode VIII.”
English worked on “NYPD Blue” as a writer. He’s specialized in organized crime books, including “Born to Kill,” “Paddy Whacked,” “The Havana Mob” and “The Savage City.