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‘Modern Family’ Director Jason Winer to Helm John Gary Spec ‘Gawker v. Thiel’ (EXCLUSIVE)

Jason Winer has attached himself to the John Gary penned spec, “Gawker v. Thiel,” which centers on the fall of the controversial media company and the man that helped bring it down.

Neil Meron and Craig Zadan are producing the film and are in the process of setting up financing for the project. Mark Nicholson, who runs development and production for Zadan/Meron Productions, will executive produce as well.

Zadan and Meron previously produced Oscar-winning best picture “Chicago.” Their other motion pictures include “Hairspray,” “The Bucket List,” and “Footloose”. Most recently, Zadan and Meron sold a new original musical fantasy based off of the characters of Hans Christian Andersen to Fox 2000 in a substantial seven-figure deal.

While the title suggests that this will be a courtroom drama, sources close to the material said the famous court case case involving Gawker and pro wrestling icon Terry Gene Bollea, aka Hulk Hogan, who sued the company after it leaked a sex tape without his permission, will not be at the forefront of the film. Instead, the movie will focus on the important individuals behind the scenes, including Nick Denton, owner of Gawker Media; A.J. Daulerio, the editor who published the tape; and billionaire Peter Thiel, who secretly helped finance the Hogan defense in hopes to ensure a victory for the plaintiff as well as examine first amendment rights in the digital age.

Hogan sought $100 million in damages and the jury ended up awarding him $115 million and $25 million in punitive damages, a verdict that would lead to the company filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy.

Thiel, a venture capitalist, would later admit in a New York Times article that he spent $10 million to finance several lawsuits against Gawker including Hogan’s. Thiel’s reason behind the financing had to do with a 2007 article where Gawker publicly outed him.

Sources close to the spec said Gary sourced 23 different people in researching the story in order to get the most accurate depiction of what happened behind the scenes.

Though Winer is known for his work producing and directing episodes on hit TV shows like “Modern Family” and “Life in Pieces,” he has been active on the film scene. He recently wrapped the drama, “Ode to Joy,” which stars Martin Freeman, Morena Baccarin, Jake Lacy, Melissa Rauch, and Jane Curtin and was written by Max Werner.

Gary has a handful of projects in development including “Sarah” and the Paramount film “Off-World.”

Winer, Gary and Meron and Zadan are all repped by ICM Partners. Gary is also repped by The Gotham Group.

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