As The Fighter director David O. Russell puts the finishing touches on his next film, The Silver Linings Playbook, it appears he’s looking for his next project. Variety reports that Russell is now attached to direct the Black List script American Bullshit for Sony Pictures and Atlas Entertainment. Written by Eric Warren Singer, the stranger than fiction story is based on a real-life undercover sting operation set up in the 1980s by a con artist working for the FBI who rooted out corruption in Congress. Ben Affleck was previously considering the project before he signed on to next tackle The Stand, but I think Russell is a suitable replacement. He definitely knows how to do strange (I Heart Huckabees) and I imagine he won’t be taking a straight-forward procedural approach to the material. Hit the jump for more on the crazy story.
It’s unknown where American Bullshit fits into Russell’s schedule. He’s attached to direct The Mission for Warner Bros., and that was previously thought to be his next film after Silver Linings, but who knows where his head is at now. Nevertheless, I really think American Bullshit is a great match for Russell and I really hope the project comes to fruition. Read more about the real life story below:
The FBI set up “Abdul Enterprises, Ltd.” in 1978. FBI employees posed as Kraim Abdul Rahman, a fictional Middle Eastern sheikh, in videotaped talks with government officials, where they offered money in return for political favors to a non-existent sheikh. A house, along with a yacht in Florida and hotel rooms in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, were used to set up meetings between various public officials and a mysterious Arab sheikh named “Kambir Abdul Rahman” who wanted:
- To purchase asylum in the U.S.
- To involve them in an investment scheme
- To get help in getting his money out of his country
Much of the operation was directed by Melvin Weinberg, a convicted con artist, who was hired by the FBI for that purpose. It was the first major operation by the FBI to trap corrupt public officials; up until 1970 only ten members of Congress had ever been convicted of accepting bribes… The FBI had codenamed the operation “Abscam”, a contraction of “Abdul scam”, after the name of the company. [Wikipedia]