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Brewer becomes a ‘Gang Leader for a Day’

Craig Brewer’s career as a filmmaker is continuing to flourish under Paramount’s indie division label. The harmonious relationship began when the Classics division picked up the Sundance titled Hustle & Flow for distribution, continued with Black Snake Moan – one of the first Spring tentpole films for what was a new Vantage label, and has now matured with a project that takes Brewer back onto the streets.

Variety reports that Paramount Vantage have optioned Gang Leader for a
and have sprung “Sopranos” writer Michael Caleo (The Last Time) onto the script. The true-life story is based on Sudhir Venkatesh book – the Columbia U. professor decided to make a crack-dealing gang in Chicago part of a research project. He
befriended the Black Kings and their leader and was invited to observe
close up. Venkatesh found a close-knit group whose corporate culture
was much like that of a successful legitimate business. Venkatesh was
given the job of calling the shots of the criminal enterprise for a day.

Venkatesh’s story made intially became part of Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner’s Freakonomics  – I’m not sure if any of the list of doc filmmakers attached to the screen project with dramatize this story as well. 

Paramount had Brewer attached to direct a biopic based on the life of singer Charley Pride (Howard).

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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