EXCLUSIVE: 20th Century Fox and Chernin Entertainment have set best-selling author Dennis Lehane to script Silk Road, a fact-based tale taken from an article that Joshua Davis is writing for the Epic website, which is devoted to film-friendly longform journalism. It’s the true story of a young kid who was arrested for putting out a hit on the clients of the Silk Road, the illegal online bazaar he created where one could buy illegal goods including drugs or services like contract killings. Lehane wrote Shutter Island, Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone and Live By Night, which is Ben Affleck’s next directing effort at Warner Bros. Lehane also scripted Animal Rescue, the Chernin-produced Michael R. Roskam-directed drama for Fox Searchlight that stars Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace and James Gandolfini.
Peter Chernin and Jenno Topping will produce along with Davis and Joshuah Bearman. Davis and Bearman are journalists who partnered in Epic, the company that formed a first-look Fox deal to produce films based on magazine articles hatched by them and other journalists. Bearman wrote the article that served as the jumping off point for Best Picture Oscar winner Argo.
There was a stampede for the movie rights to this story, and Chernin’s Kerry Foster was integral in making this happen. Amy Schiffman from Intellectual Property Group and attorney Jason Hendler of Hanson Jacobson brokered the deal for Lehane. This is an exciting form of movie making because the story is still developing, as are some of the other movie projects set up by those journos. It also gives Fox a high-profile project after making that deal to try and do things outside the box, and getting A-level talent to develop it. Bearman is repped by UTA, David by Resolution and both are managed by Circle Of Confusion’s Rick Jacobs.