- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
Fortune and Mark Wahlberg’s Unrealistic Ideas are getting into the scrum of FTX projects, planning a doc focused on the relationship between embattled FTX founder Sam Bankman-Fried and Binance founder and CEO Changpeng “CZ” Zhao, one of Bankman-Fried’s most vocal critics.
The project is described as a “personal examination of the relationship between SBF, who grew up in a prominent politically connected family of academics, and CZ, who came from more modest circumstances, having fled from China to Canada with his family when he was twelve. The two became dominant figures in the cryptocurrency scene and developed a unique association that positioned them alternately as allies and rivals. Bankman-Fried sought a high profile for FTX that hinged on celebrity endorsements and political influence while Zhao focused on a more austere approach to building Binance.”
Bankman-Fried and Zhao both rose to prominence in the cryptocurrency boom and quickly established an adversarial back-and-forth. As FTX was in freefall, Binance floated intentions to buy FTX but later backed out of the potential acquisition after a due diligence investigation. In recent days, Bankman-Fried has accused Zhao of waging a long campaign to destroy his company, including Alameda, the sister exchange of FTX. In a Jan. 12 Substack post, Bankman-Fried wrote that “an extreme, quick, targeted crash precipitated by the CEO of Binance made Alameda insolvent.”
Zhao has agreed to participate in the project, along with other key Binance executives, as well as executives from FTX and other major crypto companies.
Unrealistic Ideas, the nonscripted production company launched by Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson and Archie Gips, was behind the Emmy-nominated McMillions on HBO. Wahlberg, Levinson and Gips will executive produce the FTX doc alongside Alyson Shontell and Jeff John Roberts from Fortune and John Weston.
“The story of SBF and CZ has captivated the imagination of people everywhere,” said Gips, “What I’m most excited about is the phenomenal exclusive access we have to dynamic storytellers who were literally a part of Shakespearean-like drama as it unfolded.”
“We’re unbelievably excited to pair the award-winning journalistic resources of Fortune with Unrealistic Ideas’ well-known storytelling prowess,” adds Fortune editor-in-chief Shontell, “The tumultuous relationship between SBF and CZ has played out to a certain extent in articles and on Twitter, but this definitive documentary will give people a 360-degree, personal look at the entire FTX saga.”
WME represented both Unrealistic Ideas and Fortune in the deal.
There are multiple projects in the works about Bankman-Fried and FTX, including a doc project from nonfiction studio XTR and another from Vice Media and The Information. Elsewhere, Michael Lewis, the author of Moneyball, The Big Short and Flash Boys, pitched the film and TV rights to an upcoming book based on Bankman-Fried, whom Lewis had been spending time with leading up to the collapse of FTX. The rights landed at Apple.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day