Jim Sheridan Prepping 'Devil's Advocate' Doc Series on Notorious Bogus Lawyer Giovanni Di Stefano

jim sheridan - Getty - H - 2016
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Jim Sheridan

Di Stefano famously represented the likes of Saddam Hussein, Slobodan Milosevic and Charles Manson, among many despots and murderers, before it was found he had no qualifications. 

Jim Sheridan, the six-time Oscar-nominated filmmaker and director of titles such as My Left Foot and In the Name of the Father, is working on a documentary series on the notorious convicted fraudster and bogus lawyer Giovanni Di Stefano.

The filmmaker and his documentary team bought the exclusive rights to The Devil's Advocate, Di Stefano's biography, written by his son Michael Di Stefano, and are currently in negotiations for a limited documentary series with broadcasters and major platforms.

Di Stefano famously represented a collection of dictators and major crime figures before being arrested in 2011 and jailed for masquerading as a lawyer when it transpired that he had no qualifications. The Brit's list of clients included Manuel Noriega, Saddam Hussein, Tariq Aziz, Ali Hassan al-Majid (better known as "Chemical Ali"), Slobodan Milosevic, the Warlord Arkan and Charles Manson, among many others.

Under the working title The Devil’s Advocate – How to Win Fiends and Influence Despots, the production is already underway, having filmed with Di Stefano's wife and sons in Belgrade and London, his mother in Italy and having interviewed Giovanni in prison in the U.K.. The project is targeting March 2022 to come to market.

"It’s very easy to see this as a dramatic feature, but I think for now — the documentary form will suit the story better," said Sheridan. "This is an intriguing story and truly unique. The lead character is simply unbelievable, and we are delighted to have the exclusive co-operation of Giovanni, his family and his legal team to tell the story. Giovanni will be released later this year from prison after an eight-year sentence for masquerading as a lawyer without licence or qualifications."

Added executive producer Jezz Vernon from co-producer Port Royal Media: "The subject material is jaw dropping, we’re excited to bring Jim’s vision of the story to the screen. It’s a huge coup that Giovanni and his family have chosen to work exclusively with us. The project will go to full steam upon the release of Giovanni later this year where a crew will follow his next adventures and exploits on his return to Italy."