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Steven Soderbergh May Direct Data Leak Thriller Panama Papers

By Brian Gallagher — July 6th, 2016

It was revealed today that Academy Award winner Steven Soderbergh (Traffic, Erin Brockovich, Ocean's Eleven) will produce, with an eye to direct, a movie based on the infamous Panama Papers, the largest data leak in corporate and government history. Lawrence Grey's Grey Matter Productions acquired the feature film rights to the forthcoming book, Secrecy World, being written by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Jake Bernstein and published by Henry Holt and Company, and is teaming with Anonymous Content (The Revenant, Spotlight, Babel) to develop, finance and produce the film.

Producers are Lawrence Grey, Anonymous Content's Michael Sugar, Scott Burns and Steven Soderbergh. Executive Producers are Jake Bernstein and Grey Matter COO, Ben Everard. Jake Bernstein was part of the international team of journalists who are members of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists that broke the story of the Panama Papers in April. More than 11 million records were leaked as a part of the papers sourced from Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca.

Bernstein's book contains all-new details about the Panama Papers, including revelations about the financial machinations of rulers and royalty, the illegal activities connected to dozens of banks, and the extent to which U.S. companies and citizens are involved. Jake Bernstein won a Pulitzer in 2011 for his and ProPublica cohort Jessie Eisinger's reporting about Wall Street ahead of the financial crisis. He also co-authored the 2006 book Vice: Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of the American Presidency with journalist Lou Dubose.

The deal was negotiated by Jamie Feldman of Lichter Grossman Nichols Adler & Feldman. David Patterson of Stuart Krichevsky Literary Agency along with Howie Sanders of United Talent Agency (UTA) represent and negotiated on behalf of Jake Bernstein. The next Grey Matter movie to hit theaters will be the much anticipated horror film Lights Out starring Teresa Palmer and Maria Bello, which opens nationwide on July 22nd (Warner Bros. and New Line). The film is based on the short film phenomenon that has over 150 million views online and was written by Eric Heisserer and produced alongside James Wan.

Grey Matter is going into production this Fall on an untitled film starring Sylvester Stallone, written by Dan Casey and to be directed by Jim Mickle. Other upcoming projects on the Grey Matter film slate are the MI6 formation story Section 6 (Universal), which Joe Cornish will direct and Jack O'Connell will star; the Santa Claus origin story Winter's Knight (Sony), which will be directed by Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales directors Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg. Founded by producer and former studio executive Lawrence Grey less than three years ago, Grey Matter Productions has quickly emerged as one of the industry's most prolific independent production outfits with the capacity to develop, package, finance, produce a broad array of commercial films and television series. The company has a multi-year funding agreement with an investor group led by principals Cyrus and Darius Mojibi, Patrick Wade and Lawrence Kao.