DeVito directing Crazy Eddie fraud film
Danny DeVito is to direct a film about Eddie Antar, otherwise known as the owner of the Crazy Eddie discount electronic stores who was jailed for six years for skimming profits and falsifying inventory in order to inflate the stock value.
Peter Steinfeld, who adapted 21, is set to write the script for the film, and the production has secured the rights to Antar's life story as well as the cooperation of the man himself and his associates.
Speaking about the film Danny DeVito reveals that the film will be an honest look at his life story and that it will also find some parallels to the current economic crisis on Wall Street. Through Variety he says:
“He started as a guy who loved making deals more than money...”
“He lived an outrageously spectacular life and suffered an outrageously spectacular fall...”
Antar started the Crazy Eddie discount consumer electronics store in 1971, just around the corner from two of the main producers of the film Isaac Chera and Elliott Azrak who are supplying most of the money behind the film, and the chain grew to some forty-three stores.
It was around then that Eddie Antar took his company public on Wall Street and was hugely successful. However that success didn't last for long, for a hostile take-over pushed Antar from the top spot and forced him to go on the run when his fraudulent actions were discovered.
He was charged with stock fraud and headed off to Israel where he had stored most of his ill-gotten gains. It took three years but he was extradited and faced six years in prison with a fine of US $150 million.
It's going to be an interesting project and could go many ways, but listening to DeVito talking about it we could be seeing a very realistic look at a man who just became too greedy and got caught stealing, perhaps a real life Gordon Gecko.
Then there's the bonus of Steinfeld writing the script, the open access from Antar and his associates, and DeVito directing. Definitely a strong film.