N.Y. Times Kidnapping Revenge Article at Center of Bidding War (Exclusive)

The New York Times building
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As the last official work week in Hollywood comes to a close, executives are hoping to nab one more deal by the end of the year.

Over 16 companies are hotly seeking the screen rights to New York Times piece "She Stalked Her Daughter’s Killers Across Mexico, One by One," a gripping and devastating story that personalizes the kidnapping epidemic in Mexico.

Production companies Chernin Entertainment (Ford v Ferrari), Makeready (Queen & Slim), Thunder Road (John Wick), and Amblin plus studios Lionsgate TV, 20th Television, UCP as well as HBO’s documentary division are among the companies that are said to be in the mix for the rights. Sources say that nearly 16 offers have already been made, including six-figure options and even figure purchase prices.

The majority of rights chasers are said to be eyeing the material more like a series adaptation than a feature. No decisions have been made, according to sources. If it is a limited series, there is talk of having a Mexican writer or showrunner, and ideally a woman at that.

The deals being eyed involve just the rights to the article. Still to be discussed are rights to the families showcased in the piece which could complicate and increase the dealmaking. The New York Times would also act as a full-producer on the eventual adaptation.

Written by Azam Ahmed and published Dec. 13, the piece told of a mother named Miriam Rodriguez who became a changed woman after her daughter was kidnapped in 2014 and numerous ransoms given but her 20-year old never returned. With police and federal officials unwilling or too corrupt to take on cartel-affiliated kidnappings in her town of San Fernando, Mexico, Rodriguez had nothing to lose. Stalking social media, cutting her hair and disguising herself in identities ranging from a health worker to an election official, Rodriguez spent months tracking down every possible lead and the kidnappers.

The heartbreaking story is juxtaposed with a new and equally despairing kidnapping, that of a 14-year-old boy in the town that occurred in 2020, which showed how things had and hadn’t changed since Rodriguez went on a one-woman justice spree. Rodriguez became a hero, martyr and cautionary tale depending on one’s perspective.

Anonymous Content represents the interests and rights for film and television to The New York Times’ journalism, past and present. The journalist is repped by ICM.