×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Netflix, John Wells Developing Panama Papers Movie

Netflix is developing a movie about the Panama Papers scandal with John Wells and Claire Rudnick Polstein producing.

The streaming giant has acquired the rights to the book “The Panama Papers: Breaking the Story of How the World’s Rich and Powerful Hide Their Money,” written by German journalists Frederik Obermaier and Bastian Obermayer.

It’s the second Panama Papers movie that’s been unveiled this month. Steven Soderbergh, Lawrence Grey’s Grey Matter Productions and Anonymous Content are producing an untitled project based on Jake Bernstein’s upcoming book “The Secrecy World.”

Obermaier and Obermayer, who write for German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, based their reporting on access from an anonymous whistleblower to 11.5 million documents from the offices of Panama-based law firm Mossack Fonseca. The papers provided details on how the wealthy and powerful used the firm to take finances offshore to avoid tax liabilities.

The documents were leaked by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, a global group of reporters and publications, which began revealing their findings in April.

Popular on Variety

Obermaier and Obermayer will work with producers Wells and Rudnick Polstein, and executive producer Zach Studin of John Wells Productions. Marina Walker and Gerard Ryle of the ICIJ — which oversaw more than 400 journalists in 76 countries on the release of the Panama Papers — are also collaborating on the film in an unspecified capacity.

“We are confident that between the expert investigative work of Obermaier and Obermayer, the only journalists in touch directly with John Doe, the ICIJ, and the master storytelling of John Wells Productions, we will be able to deliver a gripping tale that will deliver the same type of impact as the Panama Papers when they were first revealed on the world’s front pages,” Netflix COO Ted Sarandos said.

Rudnick Polstein, the president of features for John Wells Productions, said, “We could not be more excited to be working with Netflix on this project. They have an excellent track record of producing top notch filmmaking and together, we are very much looking forward to getting started on shedding light on one of the most compelling news stories in recent memory.”

Obermaier and Obermayer said, “It all started with a ‘ping,’ when John Doe contacted us. That relationship and the work that came out of it grew to become the biggest data leak in history, and by far the biggest collaboration of journalists. The world has ever seen; with over 400 journalists ultimately participating in this investigation. We are proud that our newspaper was the starting point for this story which grew to be something monumental.”

No director or actors are attached. Wells most recently helmed “Burnt,” starring Bradley Cooper, and “August: Osage County,” based on the Tracy Letts’ play. He also exec produced the Brian Wilson biopic “Love and Mercy.”

More Film

  • Jojo Rabbit Movie 2019

    Potential Best Picture Nominees Find Humor Among the Drama

    At an early screening of “Bombshell,” which chronicles the Fox News sexual harassment scandal, director Jay Roach was nervous. Writer-producer Charles Randolph says it was because of the audible audience reaction: “It’s just too much laughing!” For many of this year’s prominent Oscar contenders for best picture, one of the most important questions is how [...]

  • Luxor

    Totem Films Nabs Zeina Durra's Sundance-Bound 'Luxor;' CAA Handles North American Rights

    Totem Films has acquired international sales rights to Zeina Durra’s “Luxor” which will have its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition. CAA is representing North American rights. The film stars Andrea Riseborough (“Black Mirror”) and Karim Saleh (“Transparent”), marks Durra’s follow up to her 2010 feature debut “The [...]

  • After Class

    Film Review: ‘After Class’

    Arguably the best thing about “After Class,” a purposely untidy and exceptionally intelligent dramedy about frayed family ties and academic contretemps, is writer-director Daniel Schechter’s refusal to ever let his protagonist off too easy. To be sure, lead player Justin Long’s graceless-under-pressure Josh Cohn comes across as more clueless than unsympathetic, less chronically selfish than [...]

  • Aubrey Plaza Spirit Awards

    Aubrey Plaza Returning as Indie Spirit Awards Host

    Aubrey Plaza will return to the white tent on Santa Monica beach to host the Film Independent Spirit Awards for the second consecutive year. Now in its 35th year, the ceremony honoring the year’s best independent cinema will be held on Feb. 8. The 2020 celebration will broadcast live on IFC. “Like all great independent [...]

  • New Republic Pictures

    'Suspiria' Producer Bradley J. Fischer Joins New Republic as President

    Bradley J. Fischer, whose credits include “Zodiac,” “Black Sawn” and “Suspiria,” is joining Brian Oliver’s New Republic Pictures as president and chief content officer. Fischer has signed a multi-year pact with Paramount-based New Republic. Fischer and Oliver will produce all New Republic projects, including film, television and streaming. Fischer will continue to produce his pre-existing projects, [...]

  • Alfre Woodard

    Alfre Woodard Reflects on Her First Oscar Nomination and Her Career So Far

    When Alfre Woodard was 22, she drove from Boston to Los Angeles, only stopping in her Tulsa, Okla., hometown. The four-time Emmy winner, now 67, has been acting ever since. Woodard’s career began in theater, despite her inability to sing or dance, with help from late choreographer Lester Wilson. An early play, “So Nice, They [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content