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Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris Attached To Helm Huey Newton Pic ‘The Big Cigar’

By | Wednesday December 12, 2012 @ 3:06pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Sony Pictures-based producer Matt Tolmach has acquired The Big Cigar, and has attached Little Miss Sunshine‘s Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris to direct. Tolmach, the former production president who most recently produced The Amazing Spider-Man for Sony, bought the project out of his discretionary fund. Joshuah Bearman and Jim Hecht are writing the script. The pic is based on an article that Bearman wrote in the December issue of Playboy Magazine, about Black Panthers co-founder Huey Newton and a successful covert effort to smuggle him out of the U.S. and into Cuba to avoid prosecution for murder and a second violent crime.

Newton was aided in that effort by Easy Rider producer Bert Schneider, a notable counter-culture figure at the time who among other things quietly funded Abbie Hoffman when he was living underground in the 70s after being charged with setting up a drug deal. Schneider, who hatched the TV series The Monkees and produced the Vietnam docu Hearts And Minds and The Last Picture Show, set up a movie built around Newton called The Cigar. He never intended to make the movie, but it provided Newton the cover he needed to get himself and his girlfriend at the time out of the country. Read More »

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‘Argo’ Journalist Shops Another Fake Film Saga; How Bert Schneider Got Black Panther Huey Newton An Easy Ride To Cuba

By | Friday October 12, 2012 @ 10:23am PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Would you believe there’s yet another potential movie about a film that was set up as a ruse to smuggle someone across a border? Joshua Bearman, whose Wired Magazine article about how the CIA used a fake film to free six embassy workers from Iran informed the Ben Affleck-directed Argo, has found another true story about a phony flick that is even more difficult to believe.

UTA is right now out to film producers with The Big Cigar, an article from December’s Playboy that details how Easy Rider producer Bert Schneider conjured up a film to help smuggle Black Panthers co-founder Huey Newton out of the U.S. and into Cuba to avoid being tried for murder and another violent crime. Bearman and Jim Hecht will write the script. Read More »

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