Oscar Isaac Will Star in ‘A Foreigner,’ About Guatemala’s Labyrinthine “YouTube Murder” Case


Oscar Isaac has officially signed on to star in the upcoming film A Foreigner, directed by Me, Earl and the Dying Girl‘s Alfonso Gomez-Rejon — and based on a New Yorker article (“A Murder Foretold“) about Rodrigo Rosenberg, the man who made a videotape listing the people he claimed would be his eventual murderers four days prior to his actual funeral. The video ultimately opened a vastly multilayered conspiracy, which led right back to Rosenberg himself as the person who seemed to have calculated the murder.

Isaac’s potential involvement in the project had been reported back in November 2015, but at the time it wasn’t known for certain whether Isaac would be able to participate due to scheduling with the next Star Wars film. Now, however, Variety reports that the film is beginning filming this fall, with Isaac set to star. (They don’t say who he’ll be playing, but presumably it’ll be the central figure in the labyrinthine conspiracy.)

The film will, it seems, follow this entirely odd story:

Rosenberg ensured that a certain video be handed out to people in mourning during his own funeral; the video, which thereafter went up on YouTube, saw Rosenberg, an attorney and father of four, listing the people he believed would murder him days prior to his actual murder — which happened while he was while bike-riding in Guatemala City. “If you are listening to this,” he said in the video, “it’s because I was murdered by President Alvaro Colom, with the help of Gustavo Alejos and Gregorio Valdez.” The video rapidly led to a political climate wherein it was believed the leftist President could be booted out of office by conservative opponents via this news — while people who supported the President wondered if the murder was a right wing plot to get him kicked out. Ultimately, it turned out (as The Guardian reported, referring to the event by the odd shorthand it earned — “YouTube murder”) that the killing was seemingly a suicide, and that Rosenberg himself allegedly had actually had his distant relatives help hire men to kill him.

The Guardian reported that Carlos Castresana, the United Nations leader of investigations into his murder finally proclaimed that “nobody else but him [was] responsible for his own death.” It turned out this seemingly was done in an attempt to bring down the President — but that it had all begun when Rosenberg had been working on the case of a woman with whom he’d been having an affair — who’d been caught in the cross-fire of the assassination of her father. Rosenberg, it appears, gradually became obsessed with the murder of his lover, and convinced himself that the origins of that hit came from the President himself. And so he supposedly hired people to kill him so that he could release the video accusing the President posthumously, and went to a designated place with his bike — where he was subsequently murdered according to plan. Eventually, it was security cameras in the area that helped reveal the seeming calculations of the murder.

Anyway, yes, you can now try to stop your head from spinning and just know that that is the story behind the movie Oscar Isaac is starring in; it’s written by Argo‘s Chris Terrio, who certainly is versed in strange politically-oriented plots. I wanted to avoid bearing a bit of bad news, but he was also, less excitingly, one of the writers for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Weigh those two things how you will.