Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Danny DeVito is sold on electronics huckster biopic 'Crazy Eddie'

By Sarah Sluis

The Wall Street-themed development streak continues in Danny DeVito's announcement that he will helm Crazy Eddie, a biopic of electronics king Eddie Antar. His 43-store chain of low-priced electronics outlets used skimming and off-the-books workers to boost the company's profitability, which the family was able Eddie_Antar_arrest_warrant

to sustain as a privately owned entity. Antar even sent his nephew to accounting school, enlisted him as his CFO, and went public in the 1980s. The increased limelight led not only to a hostile takeover, but to a close examination by investors that revealed his fraudulent activity.

Although not quite as extreme as the businessman who crashed his airplane to fake his own death, Antar fled to Israel for three years before eventually being extradited and serving seven years in prison, ensuring there's some drama to the tale. Also, under the "miscellaneous information" in his arrest warrant, he is described as a "heavy drinker," ensuring there will be some alcohol-fueled blow-outs in the film.

Among consumers, Crazy Eddie's was known for its ridiculously emphatic low-budget commercials, the kind you see in the background of crime thrillers when the big dumb guy is holding someone hostage.

Since the movie is being scripted by Peter Steinfeld, who wrote the slick card-counting adaptation 21, I imagine the tone will be somewhat similar. De Vito himself has played an unscrupulous businessman before, in Matilda, which he also directed, and his credits are full of films that feature dishonest professionals, making Crazy Eddie a perfect project for him to pursue.

1 comment:

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