Peter J. Nygard and Louis Bacon were two of the world’s richest men, who also happened to be neighbors in a posh corner of the Bahamas. A bitter feud between the billionaire hedge fund operator and the Canadian fashion mogul, one that initally stemmed from a noise complaint, dominated headlines, and eventually led to Nygard’s arrest and indictment for racketeering and sex trafficking.
It’s a stranger-than-fiction saga that seems ripe for the big screen treatment. Well, no surprise — in a highly competitive situation, Matthew George’s Savvy Media Holdings has acquired the rights to two books on the battling one-percenters. The company has purchased the underlying material of Dick Russell’s forthcoming book “Bacon Vs. Nygard: Sex-Trafficking, Political Corruption, Murder-for-Hire, and the Takedown,” as well as Melissa Cronin’s “Predator King: Peter Nygard’s Dark Life of Rape, Drugs, and Blackmail.” The latter was published in April last year by Skyhorse Publishing.
Justin Lader, who penned the scripts for “The Discovery” and “The One I Love,” will write the screenplay for the feature film. It will draw on the true story of Bacon, a reclusive billionaire, who takes on Nygard, the owner of a women’s apparel empire, who used his fortune to allegedly prey on underaged girls. At the same time, he also sought to control the government of the Bahamas and allegedly enlisted hit-men to terrorize adversaries.
George, who previously produced “A Private War” and “Wind River,” will produce under his Savvy Media Holdings banner. Courtney Shepard, the head of development at Savvy Media, will executive produce the movie.
Vanity Fair and the New York Times have detailed accounts of the twisting road that led to Nygard’s downfall. But here are some of the highlights. The two men’s decade-long legal dispute over property rights mushroomed into a full-scale battle royale, involving staged hate rallies on the streets, dueling private intelligence armies, corrupt politicians on the take, and failed U.S. government investigations. Add vandalism, bribery, insider-trading, arson, murder and sex-trafficking into the stew, and the result is a bracing look at power and perversity. Russell’s forthcoming book will include interviews with the Bacon family and its allies, as well as exclusive interviews with Nygard’s children.
“Dick’s exclusive access to the heart of this story outlined in his upcoming book is astonishing in its detail,” George said in a statement. “Justin’s pitch to Courtney and me on his vision for the script blew us away. This story has it all, but at its heart is a story between good versus evil, and as a film, can truly be one that defines an era.”
Lader’s upcoming scripts include “Gilded Rage,” a thriller with Christoph Waltz and Lily Collins, as well as “Patience,” Charlie McDowell’s upcoming adaptation of Daniel Clowes’ graphic novel. Savvy Media Holdings’ films also include Rob Reiner’s “Shock and Awe” and “The Secret: Dare to Dream” starring Katie Holmes and Josh Lucas.
Lader is represented by ICM Partners and Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Richman, Rush, Kaller & Gellman.
The deal was negotiated by Jonathan Cohen on behalf of Savvy Media Holdings.