Matt Damon is in talks to play the late billionaire Marc Rich in the biopic King of Oil. Universal is developing the movie alongside John Krasinski's Sunday Night Productions. Universal optioned the rights to Daniel Ammann's 2009 biography The King of Oil: The Secret Lives of Marc Rich for Krasinski's company and now the hope is that they can sway Damon to star in the movie adaptation, lending it some major credibility and star power.
John Krasinski won't be directing, but given how well A Quiet Place did at the box office and with critics this year, having his name attached to The King of Oil already helps boost its profile. Couple that with a bankable star in the form of Matt Damon and a compelling real-life story and this has the makings of a potential hit written all over it. For those who aren't familiar with Marc Rich and why someone might want to make a movie about him, here's a synopsis for Daniel Ammann's biography.
"Billionaire oil trader Marc Rich for the first time talks at length about his private life (including his expensive divorce from wife Denise); his invention of the spot oil market, which made his fortune and changed the world economy; his lucrative and unpublicized dealings with Ayatollah Khomeini's Iran, Fidel Castro's Cuba, war-ravaged Angola, and apartheid South Africa; his quiet cooperation with the Israeli and U.S. governments (even after he was indicted for tax fraud by Rudy Giuliani) and near-comical attempts by U.S. officials to kidnap him illegally. This sure-to-make-headlines book is the first no-holds-barred biography of Rich, who was famously pardoned by Bill Clinton, and resurfaced in the news during the confirmation hearings of Attorney General Eric Holder. The King of Oil sheds stunning new light on one of the most controversial international businessmen of all time."
That gives the creative team a lot to work with. This won't be the first time that Matt Damon and John Krasinski have worked with one another, assuming the deal gets done. They both worked on Gus Van Sant's Promised Land, which they wrote together and starred in. Both Damon and Krasinski were also part of the producing team behind the Academy Award-winning Manchester by the Sea. Damon was originally supposed to play the lead in that movie, but ultimately the part went to Casey Affleck, who would go on to win a Best Actor Oscar for his work.
Joe Shrapnel and Anna Waterhouse have been tapped with adapting the book into a screenplay. As of right now, there is no word on who may be tapped to direct. Allyson Seeger, Vincent Sieber and Uri Singer are on board the producing team, with Mark Sourian overseeing the project for Universal. There is no word on a production timeline for The King of Oil at the present time but it sounds like this is in the relatively early stages. This news comes to us courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter.