Variety is reporting that the long in development, John Krasinski-produced The King of Oil has found a director. Concussion writer and director Peter Landesman has signed on to direct the film about commodities trader and alleged financial criminal Marc Rich.
The film is based on a biography about Rich called The King of Oil: The Secret Lives of Marc Rich by Swiss journalist Daniel Ammann. Rich became a billionaire in the 70s through his commodities company, which actively worked with the “apartheid regime of South Africa, Iran during the Iran hostage crisis” and other unsavory partners. He fled to Switzerland from the United States after being “indicted on some 65 criminal counts, including income tax evasion, wire fraud, racketeering, and trading with Iran during the oil embargo”, although he did receive a very controversial pardon from former President Bill Clinton. Rich died in Switzerland in 2013.
Landesman’s career first began getting momentum when he wrote and directed Parkland, the 2013 film about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. His other directing credits include Concussion, the Watergate drama Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House, and the upcoming crime drama The Council. His other writing credits include Kill the Messenger.
The film was first announced to be in development back in July 2018 with Matt Damon signed on to star as Rich. It is unknown if Damon is still attached to the project.
The King of Oil has been adapted into a screenplay by Joe Shrapnel and Anna Waterhouse. Shrapnel and Waterhouse are a writing duo whose previous works together include Snake Eyes, Rebecca, and Race. Krasinski will be producing the film through his production banner Sunday Night. He will be joined by producers Uri Singer, Vincent Sieber, and Allyson Seeger.
Stay tuned to Collider for any future updates on this project. Read the full synopsis for the book The King of Oil is based on below:
The book focuses on the biography of Marc Rich, a prominent international financier and commodity trader, who became a billionaire in the 1970s, arguably inventing the spot market for oil, grain, and metals. His Switzerland-based corporation Marc Rich + Co. AG actively traded with the apartheid regime of South Africa, Iran under Ayatollah Khomeini, Cuba, Nigeria under dictator Sani Abacha, China, the Soviet Union, and later Russia. Indicted on some 65 criminal counts, including income tax evasion, wire fraud, racketeering, and trading with Iran during the oil embargo, Rich, nevertheless, received a widely criticized presidential pardon from U.S. President Bill Clinton on his last day in office.