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Ben Stiller has come aboard to direct Bag Man, a true-life drama based on a Rachel Maddow podcast that is being developed by Focus Features.
Adam Perlman wrote the script along with Stiller and Mike Yarvitz. The latter executive produced the podcast that examined the hidden story of a corruption scandal that hit the Richard Nixon White House and co-wrote the subsequent book with Maddow.
Stiller and Yarvitz are acting as producers along with Lorne Michaels and Josh McLaughlin.
The story focuses on Spiro T. Agnew, Nixon’s vice president, and his running a bribery and extortion ring in office for years. At the height of Watergate, three young federal prosecutors discovered his crimes and launched a mission to take him down.
With parallels echoing to very modern times, Agnew, according to the book publisher’s description, called the investigation a “witch hunt,” riled up his base, and schemed to obstruct justice.
The podcast and book examined the attempts at a cover-up and the backroom deals that kept Agnew out of prison.
Maddow will be an executive producer on the project, as will Nicky Weinstock, Michael Price, Erin David and Andrew Singer.
Stiller has been focused on his directing career of late, looking for a directorial challenge. He earned an Emmy nomination for Showtime’s acclaimed 2018 limited series, Escape at Dannemora.
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