Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Cannes Review: Gaspar Noé's Hardcore And Softhearted 'Love' Cannes Review: Gaspar Noé's Hardcore And Softhearted 'Love' Here's The Character Backstory For Doof aka Guitar Flamethrower Dude In 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Here's The Character Backstory For Doof aka Guitar Flamethrower Dude In 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Cannes Review: Hou Hsiao-Hsien's 'The Assassin' Is An Epic Visual Poem Cannes Review: Hou Hsiao-Hsien's 'The Assassin' Is An Epic Visual Poem The 10 Most Controversial Cannes Films Ever The 10 Most Controversial Cannes Films Ever Roger Deakins To Shoot Denis Villeneuve's 'Blade Runner' Sequel Roger Deakins To Shoot Denis Villeneuve's 'Blade Runner' Sequel More NSFW Posters For Gaspar Noe's 3D 'Love' Plus The Official Director's Statement More NSFW Posters For Gaspar Noe's 3D 'Love' Plus The Official Director's Statement Cannes: Watch A Three Way Makeout In The First Clip From Gaspar Noe’s 3D ‘Love’ Plus New NSFW Image Cannes: Watch A Three Way Makeout In The First Clip From Gaspar Noe’s 3D ‘Love’ Plus New NSFW Image Simon Pegg Worries That Adults Obsessed With Comics & Sci-Fi Have Become "Infantilized By Our Own Taste" Simon Pegg Worries That Adults Obsessed With Comics & Sci-Fi Have Become "Infantilized By Our Own Taste" Cannes Review: Denis Villeneuve's 'Sicario' Starring Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin And Benicio Del Toro Cannes Review: Denis Villeneuve's 'Sicario' Starring Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin And Benicio Del Toro George Miller Says He Courted Heath Ledger To Lead 'Mad Max' In 2006, Reveals Title For 'Fury Road' Sequel George Miller Says He Courted Heath Ledger To Lead 'Mad Max' In 2006, Reveals Title For 'Fury Road' Sequel Watch: Michael Fassbender Takes The Stage In First Trailer For 'Steve Jobs' Watch: Michael Fassbender Takes The Stage In First Trailer For 'Steve Jobs' Cannes Review: Todd Haynes' 'Carol' Starring Cate Blanchett & Rooney Mara Cannes Review: Todd Haynes' 'Carol' Starring Cate Blanchett & Rooney Mara Nicolas Winding Refn Goes 60 fps For 'The Neon Demon' Nicolas Winding Refn Goes 60 fps For 'The Neon Demon' George Miller Says 'Interstellar' Came Close To What His Version Of 'Contact' Would've Been Like George Miller Says 'Interstellar' Came Close To What His Version Of 'Contact' Would've Been Like New NSFW, Extremely Graphic, Adults-Only Poster For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' New NSFW, Extremely Graphic, Adults-Only Poster For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen The 25 Best Films Of 2015 We've Already Seen Check Out Teaser Posters For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' & Nicolas Winding Refn's 'The Neon Demon' Check Out Teaser Posters For Gaspar Noe's 'Love' & Nicolas Winding Refn's 'The Neon Demon' The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More All The Songs In 'Pitch Perfect' Including La Roux, David Guetta, Azealia Banks, Nicki Minaj & More

Stephen Gaghan Lines Up 'The Snakehead' & Untitled Drug Trafficking Movie To Direct

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist October 19, 2011 at 8:04AM

It has been a while since we've heard anything from "Traffic" writer and "Syriana" writer/director Stephen Gaghan. Ever since his sophomore film, Gaghan was attached to a few projects that never quite got moving. He was set to adapt Malcolm Gladwell's nonfiction bestseller "Blink" for Leonardo DiCaprio's Appian Way shingle but that seems to have stalled out; he wrote a "Speed"-like thriller called "Dead Spy Running" that McG was eyeing to direct and he also had an untitled action pic set up over at Lionsgate. Late this summer, he signed up to adapt a popular series of books by a Swedish criminologist, psychological profiler and author G.W. Perrson and he's also completed work on a pilot for NBC. But he's still angling to get back behind the camera and he's making sure he's got options, setting up two brand new projects.
2


It has been a while since we've heard anything from "Traffic" writer and "Syriana" writer/director Stephen Gaghan. Ever since his sophomore film, Gaghan was attached to a few projects that never quite got moving. He was set to adapt Malcolm Gladwell's nonfiction bestseller "Blink" for Leonardo DiCaprio's Appian Way shingle but that seems to have stalled out; he wrote a "Speed"-like thriller called "Dead Spy Running" that McG was eyeing to direct and he also had an untitled action pic set up over at Lionsgate. Late this summer, he signed up to adapt a popular series of books by a Swedish criminologist, psychological profiler and author G.W. Perrson and he's also completed work on a pilot for NBC. But he's still angling to get back behind the camera and he's making sure he's got options, setting up two brand new projects.

The first is an adaptation of "The Snakehead: An Epic Tale Of The Chinatown Underworld And The American Dream" by New Yorker writer Patrick Keefe. The narrative book, backed by real deal facts and characters, centers on a middle-aged grandmother known as Sister Ping, whose noodle store on Hester Street in New York City was front to an elaborate operation that included an underground bank for illegal immigrants and some human smuggling to go along with it. She ran the "business" for years until a shipload of undocumented immigrants went ashore in Queens, leading the FBI on a manhunt to find out who was behind it all. The project is set up at the indie Flashlight Pictures where Keefe will write the script; check out the Amazon synopsis below:

Keefe (Chatter) examines America's complicated relationship with immigration in this brilliant account of Cheng Chui Ping, known as Sister Ping, who built a multimillion-dollar empire as a snakehead, smuggling Chinese immigrants into America. Sister Ping herself entered the U.S. legally in 1981 from China's Fuzhou province, but was soon known among Fujianese immigrants in Manhattan's Chinatown as the go-to for advice, loans and connections to bring their families to America. Her empire grew so large that she contracted out muscle work to the local gang, the Fuk Ching. Keefe points to the Golden Venture—a ship full of Fujianese illegals that ran fatally aground in 1993—as the beginning of the end for Sister Ping. She was sentenced in 2000 to 35 years in prison for conspiracy, money laundering and trafficking. Despite an enormous cast of characters in a huge underground web of global crime, Keefe's account maintains the swift pace of a thriller.

Meanwhile, over at Warner Bros., Gaghan has another hot button issue movie set up. Based on a series of investigative reports by Richard Marosi for the Los Angeles Times (read them here), this untitled movie will center on drug cartels, tracking a wiretap operation that cracked an elaborate smuggling operation that found cocaine being distributed into the country in hidden compartments, with frozen food and more. The studio wants something on the scale of "The Departed" or "Traffic" (which Gaghan also penned).

Frankly, both pictures sound comfortably in Gaghan's wheelhouse of expansive, topical movies that hit that sweet spot of being some adult fare with mainstream appeal. So we'll be watching to see how these come together. But between the two pics, the untitled drug pic is first in line, but no word yet on when it might get in front of cameras.

This article is related to: Film Studios, Stephen Gaghan, Warner Bros


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates