EXCLUSIVE: As Wall Street developments unfold in real time in the David V Goliath battle between hedge funds and social media-fueled day traders that sent shares of GameStop soaring 135% on a single day, a bull market is developing for projects chronicling this unprecedented episode and its greater implications.
Deadline hears Netflix is in talks to make an untitled film that Mark Boal is in negotiations to write. He’s the Oscar winning screenwriter of The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty. Noah Centineo will be attached to play a major role — Centineo starred in the Netflix film To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, completed the Jackie Chan-directed The Diary and will play Atom Smasher opposite Dwayne Johnson in the Jaume Collet-Serra-directed Black Adam. Scott Galloway, the activist/journalist and NYU prof and an expert on tech issues who teams on the the popular Pivot podcast, is in talks to consult on the script.
Makeready founder/CEO Brad Weston will produce the film with Definition Entertainment’s Nick Styne, with Mark Sourian aboard as executive producer.
This follows close on the heels of last night’s Deadline scoop that MGM acquired in bidding a book proposal by Ben Mezrich about the GameStop trading. His previous books include The Accidential Billionaires, which became a pillar of The Social Network.
Netflix declined comment on the Mark Boal project, but sources said the intention is to use the GameStop episode as a specific way to shine a light on the phenomenon of how social media has leveled the playing field and allowed the masses to challenge status quo gatekeepers, for good and bad. The examples range from the stock spike for GameStop, AMC and other formerly lagging stocks that are subject to the short-selling maneuvers of billion-dollar hedge funds, to the social media spread of unfounded election rigging charges conveyed by conservative social media sites and Trump Tweets that fired up right wing extremists to storm the Capitol while President Biden’s election was being certified, leading to the death of five people.
The ripples of the Reddit rebellion has struck at the core of some hedge funds in a way that is reminiscent of the greed-fueled subprime mortgage bundling that caused the 2008 financial collapse, captured in the Oscar-winning The Big Short, which New Regency co-financed while Weston ran that production company. That film will certainly be a model for the GameStop dissection, and sources said there are several potential rival projects mobilizing to tell the story.
The general rule when competitive projects emerge is that the first one in production is often the only one made. Netflix makes its pictures quickly and Boal seems ideal for such a real time exercise. He and director Kathryn Bigelow were working on a film about an unsuccessful hunt for Osama Bin Laden, but the moment President Barack Obama announced that the 9/11 mastermind had been killed by Navy SEALs, they quickly pivoted and constructed the manhunt story into the Best Picture nominee Zero Dark Thirty. The turnaround time on that pivot was remarkably fast.
The drama on the GameStop stock rise continues to play out in today’s stock trading. The phenomenon was led by Kevin Gill, who rallied Reddit users to rebel against hedge funds betting heavily against the brick and mortar vidgame retailer GameStop. Though it fluctuates daily, an investment of $53,000 in GameStop he made in 2019 turned into a position worth nearly $48 million, according to his Reddit posts. Gill has not yet sold his life rights. I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets a few knocks on his door from Hollywood, but this drama is playing out so publicly in real time that it is unclear how vital rights will be in telling this story onscreen.
Boal and Galloway are repped by WME, Centineo by CAA and Definition Entertainment.