Following his triumphant breakout with ’71, one of the most galvanizing and tense treatments of the Irish Troubles to come along in quite some time, Yann Demange has had a few opportunities for his follow-up. The most prominent and alluring project that seemed to be synonymous with his name was a remake of The Seven Five, a (quite good) documentary on Michael Dowd and his ring of corrupt cops, who ran a successful off-the-books business by using their NYPD badges to protect their drug dealing, theft, and physical abuse. For a filmmaker who found fresh horrors and an abundance of paranoia in the fight for Irish independence, the seductive elements seemed to be in place but nothing came of his burgeoning relationship with Sony in that case.
Now, Demange seems to have settled on his next project, and he seems to have a major name attached to star in the project. Indeed, Deadline reports today that Matthew McConaughey, whom we will next see in Gold, is now in negotiations to star in White Boy Rick for Demange. This is how Deadline described the story:
White Boy Rick is about Richard Wershe Jr., who in the mid-1980s at the age of only 14 became an undercover informant for local and federal law enforcement agencies, and then established himself as a major drug dealer. The dual life he led eventually put him into the cross-hairs of the feds when he was found with 17 pounds of cocaine (at only 17 years of age). He was put in jail for life, but ethical questions remain as how much the feds were involved in putting him deeper into his life of drugs.
McConaughey would be playing Wershe’s blue-collar father, who faces a painful, uphill battle when he the automobile job market in Detroit starts tanking. The hunt is currently underway for an actor to play Wershe Jr. but Demange seems ready to go with the story, working from a script by Noah and Logan Miller, which received an extensive polish from longtime Harry Potter scribe Steve Kloves. The movie was originally set to be the next film for Joseph Kosinski, he of Oblivion and Tron: Legacy, and as much as I’m interested to see what his take would have been, this seems like Demange’s wheelhouse from the outset.