As the world tries to get to grips with the fact that a bidding war just tookplace over the rights for a movie about Emojis, we end the week with a different different and potentially more intriguing battle for movie rights. Fox has paid a sizeable sum to adapt crime novel The Cartel, and has named Ridley Scott as their go-to director.
Screen Rant is reporting that the studio won out with a bid of approximately 7 million smackaroos for the pleasure of making The Cartel. It’s really no surprise that the property went for that amount: crime is an incredibly versatile genre and is always a safe bet with audiences. The number of successful crime films that have been adapted from novels has a proven track record, ranging from Mario Puzo’s The Godfather all the way to last year’s The Wolf of Wall Street.
The Cartel, written by Don Winslow, also has a plot that is prime movie bait – a DEA agent who is forced to take down his friend who happens to be a Mexican drug lord. The story has some parallels to the life of notorious crime kingpin Al Chapo, and spans ten years of the characters’ lives. The novel follows on from Winslow’s other novel Power of the Dog, and it looks as though Fox now has rights for both novels. However, only The Cartel is being adapted right now.
Now, moving on to the director himself, Ridley Scott is no stranger to the world of crime movies. His most recent endeavours with the genre have included the Academy Award nominated American Gangster, the black comedy Matchstick Men, and the classic Thelma and Louise. However, the data rector has also made his share of not-so-successful crime lemons, such as The Counsellor and Robin Hood.
Ok maybe Robin Hood is a stretch, but see what a I mean by crime being a versatile genre? The concern is that Scott’s blunders with the crime genre are all a lot more recent than his successes, contributing to What many have been calling a losing streak for the director. That being said, there is a frightening amount of buzz for his latest film The Martian, starring Matt Damon as an astronaut stranded on Mars. Hopefully this will elevate Scott to his former eminence as serve as a spring board for The Cartel, should he still be involved.
Fox is also eyeing another big name for the role of DEA agent Art Keller – Leonardo DiCaprio. This would be a huge get for Fox, as DiCaprio currently has a dependability in the box office that is frankly unshakable. Not only that, he made an explosive impression in both The Departed and The Wolf of Wall Street, a film that Scott was actually set to direct before Martin Scorcese took the project on.
Shane Salemo is pegged as the scriptwriter for The Cartel. Salemo’s previous work includes Armageddon and Savages, and he’s set to write one of the Avatar sequels, a franchise which is in danger of increasingly losing lustre as time goes by.
All in all, there are good and bad points in Fox’s decision, but hopefully the potential high quality of the project will bring out the best in everyone involved.