Hot Panama Papers Project Shopped for Film and TV Amid Book Deal

Panama Papers - H 2016
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Secrecy World, the just-announced book by Jake Bernstein, the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and senior reporter on the team that broke the Panama Papers story, is going to be handled for film and TV by UTA, which will work with David Patterson of the Stuart Krichevsky Literary Agency, which represented the book deal.

The book will be published by Henry Holt in fall 2017, the publisher announced Wednesday. The project attracted intense interest at the recently completed London Book Fair and received bids from seven publishers.

Secrecy World is pitched as the definitive account of the story behind the leak of some 11 million documents from the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca about shady global financial transactions. Fallout from the leak already has ensnared a wide range of public figures from Jackie Chan to the prime minister of Iceland. As a key part of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists group that examined the papers, a statement from Holt said Bernstein “is uniquely positioned to go beyond the stories in recent headlines and inside the investigation that revealed them. Bernstein will delve deeper, uncover more from the documents, bringing to light the ambiguous and often nefarious world of offshore banking and the journalists who have fought to reveal its inner workings.” The book promises “new details that expand on the recent revelations about the financial machinations of rulers and royalty, the illegal activities connected to dozens of banks, and the extent to which U.S. companies and citizens are involved.”

Said Bernstein in the statement announcing the book: “For the first time we have an opportunity to see the secrecy world from deep inside. Just as powerfully, the Panama Papers heralds a new dawn of collaborative journalism whose impact is only beginning.”

UTA already is going out to producers and studios about the project. With its echoes of Spotlight, All the President’s Men and the Edward Snowden story, its huge and varied international cast of characters and the way it taps into current debates about economic inequality in the U.S. and around the world, Secrecy World is poised to attract multiple bidders.

Executive editor Paul Golob acquired North American rights for Henry Holt. Golob has a strong reputation for serious nonfiction, having edited, among other books, 102 Minutes: The Unforgettable Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers and The Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust. Bernstein was represented by David Patterson of the Stuart Krichevsky Literary Agency on the book deal. Patterson also represents Nate Blakeslee, who is writing American Wolf, about the “0-six” wolf killed in Yellowstone, which Appian Way optioned, and Ken Bensinger, who is writing Houses of Deceit, about international soccer corruption, which Pearl Street and Entertainment 360 optioned for Warner Bros.