Dwayne Johnson is in negotiations to star in Snitch, an action thriller that New Line has been developing for years. Ric Roman Waugh (Felon) will direct and rewrite the script by Justin Haythe, which centers on a suburban dad who goes undercover to convict a drug dealer in order to reduce his teenage son’s 30-year prison sentence. That logline first sounded silly to me, but it turns out Snitch is based on the true story of devoted father James Settembrino, as documented in the Frontline segment “Snitch.” Read more about the story after the jump.
PBS has posted their Frontline interview with Settembrino here. In the real version of the story, 18-year-old Joey Settembrino was sentenced to ten years for which he was clearly unprepared — he told his father, “I’m here, get me out, I’ll never be able to do 10 years.” The elder Settembrino plays into the general distrust of authority figures, and even implies foul play (“They don’t care who they arrest. They’re interested in convictions.”) before explaining how he got involved:
“The government contacted me and said, ‘There’s other ways that can help your son.’ ‘Well, what’s the other ways?’ ‘Well, you go do something. … If you can do this, find people that have drugs and purchase drugs from them, we’ll act favorably in giving your son a 5K1 reduction.’ And I said, ‘Well, why would you do that?’ ‘You want your son to get reduced, right?’ I said, ‘Yes.’ ‘We want convictions and that’s why we do it.’ So at that particular point I had them send a letter to my attorney… stipulating that he would recommend a 5K1 reduction for my son if I went out and did substantial assistance by implicating and arresting people who were dealing in drugs.”
I’m not entirely taken in by Settembrino’s side of the story, but it could be a great character for Mr. Johnson, especially with the right poetic license. (10 years turns into 30 years, the suburban dad is built like a professional wrestler, etc.) In the meantime he’ll continue to alternate between actioners (Fast Five, April 29) and family films (Journey 2: The Center of the Earth, September 23).
According to THR, the studio is planning a June start date for Snitch.