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Chiwetel Ejiofor Attached to Star in Adaptation of British Drug Dealer Memoir 'Marching Powder'

by Tambay A. Obenson
June 6, 2014 5:35 PM
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Chiwetel Ejiofor is attached to star in a film adaptation of Rusty Young's novel "Marching Powder," which Deadline says New Regency has picked up rights to, with Ejiofor as their guy.

The memoir of a British drug dealer, "Marching Powder" follows Thomas McFadden, a  charismatic, young black man from Liverpool arrested for smuggling cocaine into Bolivia, who finds himself forced to pay for his accommodations in La Paz's San Pedro Prison, the first of many oddities in a place where some inmates keep pets, rich criminals can sustain a lavish lifestyle, hundreds of women and children even live with imprisoned family members, while the poorest prisoners are subjected to squalor and deprivation.

McFadden spent nearly five years on the inside of this Bolivian prison, where he quickly learns how to survive, and even thrive, in an atmosphere where crooked prison officials turn up at his private cell to snort lines of coke. By chance, he stumbles on an additional source of income when he begins giving tours of the prison to foreign tourists. He would eventually meet the author of the novel, Rusty Young, who was backpacking in South America at the time. He'd heard about Thomas McFadden, and the notorious San Pedro prison. Intrigued, he traveled to La Paz and joined one of Thomas’s illegal tours. Eventually, both men formed a strong and instant friendship, and then became partners in an attempt to record Thomas’s experiences in the jail. 

The novel is said to be a shocking, darkly comic account of the life in San Pedro prison. 

Ejiofor will of course play McFadden, with Jerry Kalajian executive producing.

It's great to see the acclaimed actor becoming even more in demand, and, even more significantly, for starring roles. Ejiofor, who can currently be seen starring in Biyi Bandele's "Half Of A Yellow Sun" - a film adaptation of celebrated author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Orange Prize-winning novel of the same name - is said to be MGM and Sony's top choice to play the villain in the next installment of the James Bond franchise. He'll also co-star in John Hillcoat's crime thriller "Triple Nine," which will be out in 2015. And lastly, he's attached to star in Warner Brothers' remake of the Oscar-winning Argentine crime thriller "The Secret In Their Eyes," which centers on "a retired legal counselor [who] writes a novel hoping to find closure for one of his past unresolved homicide cases, and for his unreciprocated love with his superior - both of which still haunt him decades later." Ejiofor will of course play the lead role, and he'll be joined by Gwyneth Paltrow in a remake that will set the story in Boston, with Ejiofor as a former MI-5 agent who joins an FBI task force, to solve a murder that continues to haunt him. 

Ejiofor was nominated for an Oscar for his 2013 performance in "12 Years A Slave." 

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  • deecreative | June 10, 2014 10:10 PMReply

    I will watch anything with Chiwetel he's a GREAT actor.

  • troublemaker | June 6, 2014 6:15 PMReply

    Just what we need... another portrayal of a black drug lord. Oh, wait but it's different. It's a British drug lord locked up in a corrupted South American prison!

  • troublemaker | June 7, 2014 9:41 AM

    Since when do we as a society care or have sympathy for a cocaine drug lord's hard life in prison?

  • Miles Ellison | June 7, 2014 3:48 AM

    So he wasn't a drug smuggler locked up in a corrupt South American prison?

  • You obviously haven't read the book | June 7, 2014 1:20 AM

    That's not actually what it's about. Google the synopsis. It's a great book and an awesome role.

  • stp | June 6, 2014 8:31 PM

    The man's gotta work! lol

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