Oscar-winning screenwriter William Monahan (The Departed) has scripted an adaptation of the book American Desperado, and according to Deadline, Peter Berg is set to direct the film, and Mark Wahlberg is set to star. They just got finished working together on an Afghanistan war drama called Lone Survivor. The film is set up at Paramount Pictures, and they hope to start shooting next year.
The book that the film is based on is subtitled My Life — From Mafia Soldier To Cocaine Cowboy To Secret Government Asset, and it comes from super-criminal Jon Roberts, star of the documentary Cocaine Cowboys, and Evan Wright, who is best known for his book and HBO series Generation Kill.
It will tell the compelling history of Roberts, "a New York City gangster running guns for the CIA and smuggling tons of cocaine and cash for the Medellín Cartel at the height of America’s War On Drugs during the 1980s." Here's a full description from the book with more details, and it sounds like it will be a hell of a film! I'm looking forward to seeing this made.
In 2008 veteran journalist Evan Wright, acclaimed for his New York Times bestselling bookGeneration Kill and co-writer of the Emmy-winning HBO series it spawned, began a series of conversations with super-criminal Jon Roberts, star of the fabulously successful documentary Cocaine Cowboys. Those conversations would last three years, during which time Wright came to realize that Roberts was much more than the de-facto “transportation chief” of the Medellin Cartel during the 1980s, much more than a facilitator of a national drug epidemic. As Wright’s tape recorder whirred and Roberts unburdened himself of hundreds of jaw-dropping tales, it became clear that perhaps no one in history had broken so many laws with such willful abandon.
Roberts, in fact, seemed to be a prodigy of criminality – but one with a remarkable self-awareness and a fierce desire to protect his son from following the same path.
American Desperado is Roberts’ no-holds-barred account of being born into Mafia royalty, witnessing his first murder at the age of seven, becoming a hunter-assassin in Vietnam, returning to New York to become -- at age 22 -- one of the city’s leading nightclub impresarios, then journeying to Miami where in a few short years he would rise to become the Medellin Cartel’s most effective smuggler.
But that’s just half the tale.
The roster of Roberts’ friends and acquaintances reads like a Who’s Who of the latter half of the 20th century and includes everyone from Jimi Hendrix, Richard Pryor, and O.J. Simpson to Carlo Gambino, Meyer Lansky, and Manuel Noriega.
Nothing if not colorful, Roberts surrounded himself with beautiful women, drove his souped-up street car at a top speed of 180 miles per hour, shared his bed with a 200-pound cougar, and employed a 6”6” professional wrestler called “The Thing” as his bodyguard. Ultimately, Roberts became so powerful that he attracted the attention of the Republican Party’s leadership, was wooed by them, and even was co-opted by the CIA for which he carried out its secret agenda.
Scrupulously documented and relentlessly propulsive, this collaboration between a bloodhound journalist and one of the most audacious criminals ever is like no other crime book you’ve ever read. Jon Roberts may be the only criminal who changed the course of American history.