Despite being a scandal that exploded and then died down at least within the media, the Panama Papers were vastly revealing insomuch as they provided concrete proof of the extent to which the rich are able to avoid paying societal dues. (Media attention was perhaps perhaps as short lived as it was because, unlike the most media-beloved scandals, it seemed to, on an individual basis, have many grey areas — and because many people named hadn’t done anything illegal, or often even unethical.) Now, the story of the people who led to the biggest leak in history is proving to have very much captured the interest of Hollywood.
Recently, it was announced that Steven Soderbergh was producing and potentially directing a film about the divulgence of 11 million documents, naming thousands of people who’d set up and/or held shares in offshore accounts and/or shell companies through the law firm Mossack Fonseca. (Some of the most notably named individuals in the Panama Papers included David Cameron and Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, the latter of whom resigned following the revelations, while Cameron incidentally resigned not long after, due to the Brexit vote). Now, the Guardian reports — less than a month after the Soderbergh plans were revealed — that there’s another project in the works about the leak: a movie for Netflix.
Frederik Obermaier and Bastian Obermayer, the journalists who had direct access to the whistleblower who leaked the documents, recently published the book, The Panama Papers: Breaking the Story of How the World’s Rich and Powerful Hide Their Money, and Netflix has acquired the rights to it. (The Soderbergh project is based on Jake Bernstein’s to-be-released book Secrecy World.) Netflix is putting emphasis on the fact that’ve gotten rights to the story closest to the leaks. Netflix’s Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said:
This is probably the most important political story of recent times,” Netflix Chief Content Office Ted Sarandos told the Guardian, “so I imagine there will be many different stories and angles to come from it. We think ours will be the definitive take.”
Variety reports that the two journalists (with rather similar last names) will be working alongside the film’s producers, John Wells and Claire Rudnick Polstein on the project. International Consortium of Investigative Journalists members Marina Walker and Gerard Ryle are also helping out in a yet-unknown capacity.