Michael Lerner (Deadlines) has sold his pitch for Wheeler Dealers to Paramount Pictures, based on the story of American arms dealer and president of AEY, Inc. Efraim Diveroli. AEY landed a $300 million contract to supply ordinance to Afghan security forces in 2007, when Diveroli was only 21 years old. Diveroli pleaded guilty to charges of supplying prohibited Chinese ammunition earlier this week, and was sentenced to four years in prison.
According to Variety, the project is set up at Will Smith and James Lassiter’s Overbrook Entertainment as well as Brett Ratner’s Rat Entertainment. Lerner is a former Newsweek foreign correspondent and freelance journalist, who last year sold his script Game Theory to Summit Enertainment. Game Theory centers on “a college professor and game theorist who gets sucked into a large-scale global incident.” If this screenwriting thing pans out, it sounds like we have a well-informed new voice in the political thriller genre — though of course I’ll always confuse him with the Michael Lerner who played Mayor Ebert in Godzilla.