Paramount, Appian Way Nab Cuban Mob Saga 'The Corporation' With Benicio Del Toro to Star

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Film rights to T.J. English's upcoming nonfiction book about the Cuban mafia had multiple studio bidders.

After a massive bidding war, Paramount and Appian Way have won the film rights to T.J. English's upcoming Cuban mob crime book The Corporation for seven figures. Benicio Del Toro is attached to star.

David Matthews, a staff writer on Vinyl, will adapt. Appian Way’s Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson are producing, along with Andrew Rona and Alex Heineman of The Picture Company.

Jaydee Freixas and Tony Gonzalez, who hold the rights to the book that was repped by Paradigm in the deal, also will produce.

A bidding war broke out over the book earlier this week, with multiple studios — and some top talent attachments — interested.

English's book is based on the real-life saga of the Cuban mafia from the 1950s to the 1980s in Miami and New York. It is slated for publication in 2017 via HarperCollins' William Morrow.

The story centers on Jose Miguel Battle Sr. (Del Toro), the leader of the powerful Cuban mafia "The Corporation." Born in Havana, Battle and other Cubans were trained by the CIA to fight in the Bay of Pigs invasion, where Battle was captured and served nearly two years in a Cuban prison. When he was released, he went back to the U.S. and began building a crime empire that dabbled in gambling, drug trafficking and murder. Battle rose to become one of the most powerful crime bosses in America.

English is a journalist and author known for writing about organized crime and the criminal underworld. His previous books include Born to Kill (1995), Paddy Whacked (2005), The Havana Mob (2008) and The Savage City (2011). He is also a screenwriter whose worked on the TV series NYPD Blue.