The scandal involving French economist Dominique Strauss-Kahn is getting the movie treatment via Warner Bros., which has pre-emptively picked up the spec script titled The Libertine by Ben Kopit.
The deal also includes a blind script component in which Kopit will write another script for the studio in the near future.
No producer is attached.
Strauss-Kahn was the managing director of the International Monetary Fund until 2011 when he resigned following allegations he had assaulted a hotel maid. The economist was placed under house arrest but the case fell apart due to the questions surrounding the credibility of the maid. A later civil suit was settled out of court.
The script is described as being a layered comedic dramatization on the scandal.
The buy is a feather in the cap of Kopit, who just graduated from UCLA’s MFA screenwriting program, was sought out by manager Jesse Silver at Mindframe Films who brought him to the attention of WME, which promptly signed him based on the strength of this script.
Kopit, the son of Nine playwright Arthur Kopit, is also a Columbia University undergrad and a recipient of the 2013 Sloan Screenwriting Fellowship, and the 2013 David C. Baumgarten Endowed Award in Comedy Writing, among several awards. (He even came second place in a bad poetry contest.)
Warners’ Jon Gonda brought the project into the studio, which has a reputation of taking chances on up-and-coming writers. Sources say the studio’s president Greg Silverman read it on a plane while back East and sealed up the deal quickly for mid-six-figures.
The scandal previously got the movie treatment via Welcome to New York, an Abel Ferrara drama that saw Gerard Depardieu playing a character modeled on Strauss-Kahn and Jacqueline Bisset as his wife.
Updated Aug. 14, 11:10 AM to reflect that Kopit was not a AFI grad. Also updated with representation information.