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There have been many pages of newsprint devoted to the failure of the company, its creator Sam Bankman-Fried (SBF), and his allies Caroline Ellison and Gary Wang. The collapse of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX has entered the mainstream unlike any other event in the history of cryptocurrencies. That made Hollywood become extremely interested in the story.
It’s a classic story of arrogance colliding head-on with nemesis, filled with racy details and has ensnared stars like Larry David and Gisele Bündchen. Any movie will undoubtedly have a dramatic climax in court because Bankman-Fried is currently charged with crimes that could land him in prison for more than 130 years.
The Dropout on Hulu and WeCrashed on Apple TV are two recent examples of successful content produced by the entertainment business that focuses on failed entrepreneurs and financial bros (“The Wolf of Wall Street” and “The Big Short”). They have a story with FTX that lies at the Venn diagram’s intersection. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that production companies are vying to release movies, TV shows, and documentaries about SBF’s demise first.
Of course, not all of these projects will succeed, and many of them are destined to languish in development hell, but it’s safe to assume that in the coming year or so, there will be a wide range of options if you want to see a movie, television show, or documentary about FTX.
Filming for the FTX documentary, which has yet to be given a name, began in the Bahamas, where the cryptocurrency exchange had its headquarters, in November 2022.
The movie, which claims to have obtained “unique access to key actors at FTX and the cryptocurrency community,” is being directed by Oscar-nominated director David Darg, whose earlier works include “Body Team 12” and “You Cannot Kill David Arquette,” according to a report in Variety.
Executive producer Justin Lacob called the FTX tale “the most exciting financial event since WallStreetBets shook the stock market during the epidemic” and stated it “exposes major problems inside the bitcoin realm.”
Unrealistic Ideas Documentary, with Fortune Magazine
The team behind HBO’s “McMillions,” Mark Wahlberg’s production company Unrealistic Ideas, released its own documentary project in February 2023.
The movie, which was made in collaboration with Fortune magazine, is specifically positioned as being about the friendship between SBF and Changpeng Zhao, the CEO of Binance. Executive producer Archie Gips calls the movie a “Shakespearean-like drama.”
The Hollywood Reporter claims that the project is a “in-depth analysis of the relationship” between CZ and SBF, contrasting the latter’s “austere approach” to creating Binance with Bankman-pursuit Fried’s of “celebrity endorsements and political power.”
CZ, executives from Binance, and FTX have all agreed to appear in the movie. Gips praised the documentary for having “phenomenal exclusive access.”
Along with fellow founder of Unrealistic Ideas Stephen Levinson, John Weston, Fortune’s Alyson Shontell, and Jeff John Roberts, Wahlberg and Gips will executive produce the film.
SBF and Silicon Valley’s Demise
“SBF and the End of Silicon Valley,” a Vice Media and The Information production, will air in Q2 2023. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the documentary will analyze FTX’s inexperienced leadership, the role of VCs, and Bankman-Fried’s participation with the “effective altruism” movement. It will draw on reporting from Vice’s Motherboard team and The Information’s crypto and VC teams.
The Information founder Jessica Lessin said in a statement that:
At the same time that the first generation of Silicon Valley giants were facing turbulent markets, new business challenges, and mass layoffs, money kept pouring into FTX as they tried to upend the world financial system with risk-seeking schemes that no one dared question. The Silicon Valley era is coming to an end with this narrative. The next Dark Age is upon us.
New York Magazine documentary (currently unnamed)
In addition to the written adaptation already mentioned, New York Magazine and Vox Media are working together on a documentary about Bankman-Fried’s defunct cryptocurrency company. The project will use informants and reporters from both the United States and the Bahamas, according to Deadline.
Graham Moore Project, Untitled
According to Deadline, Graham Moore, the Oscar-winning author of “The Imitation Game,” will adapt the New York Magazine cover story on the demise of FTX and also serve as the film’s director. For the newspaper and Vox Media Studios, the publication’s owner, Scoop Wasserstein is slated to produce.
Moore has not yet decided whether the project will be a movie or a television show. In SBF, “complicated” and “unique” feel like understatements, the writer-director told Deadline, adding that “I’ve spent a lot of time writing about the complex and singular humans at the core of great technological moments.” Whether or not he had that goal in mind, it appears that he has already accomplished it.
Lily Collins, who starred in “Emily in Paris,” has a role in “Razzlekhan: The Infamous Crocodile of Wall Street,” which is based on New York Magazine’s coverage of aspiring rapper and alleged Bitcoin money launderer Heather Morgan. This is not the only cryptocurrency-related project to result from the magazine’s reporting.
(A New York Magazine article served as the inspiration for the 2015 film “Hustlers,” about a group of strippers who sedated patrons and stole their money.)
Panoramic Media, run by Scott Burns and Jonathan Glickman, is now working on another FTX project. According to Deadline, Panoramic and New York Times reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin are “looking at a prospective project.” Sorkin interviewed Bankman-Fried in December 2022 following the collapse of FTX.
In the protracted interview, Bankman-Fried asserted, “I made a lot of mistakes,” he admitted, adding that he “never tried to defraud anyone.”
Glickman, a former executive at MGM Motion Picture Group, has worked on the “Creed” series, “Wednesday” on Netflix, and the James Bond movies “Skyfall,” “Spectre,” and “No Time to Die.”
FTX Drama – Amazon Prime
In order to expedite the creation of its own FTX project, Amazon Studios has commissioned a miniseries from Joe and Anthony Russo, the filmmakers of Marvel’s most recent two “Avengers” movies.
The Russo brothers will produce the eight-episode series under their production business ABGO, and they are in talks to direct and executive produce, according to the film trade publication Variety.
The series will be scripted by David Weil, whose past works include Amazon’s “Hunters” and “Solos,” as well as Apple TV’s “Invasion,” and will be based on “insider reporting” from numerous journalists who covered FTX’s demise.
Although specifics on the show’s casting have not been made public yet, Variety reports that “several Marvel actors” have been in talks about taking on roles. Sam Bankman-Fried was described by the Russo brothers as
An extraordinarily enigmatic individual with complicated and perhaps hazardous objectives, who perpetrated one of the most egregious frauds ever.
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