In 2017, director Craig Gillespie did an impressive job bringing one of the most ridiculous pop culture affairs in recent memory to the silver screen with I, Tonya. Since then been working with Emma Stone and Disney on the upcoming Cruella, but now he's getting set to tackle yet another adaptation of a wild true story, as he has been tapped to make a cinematic take on the notorious Chippendales murder in the early 1990s.
Deadline has the news on this recent development, adding that Dev Patel has signed on to headline the film portraying Somen "Steve" Banerjee – the man at the center of the whole controversy. The project has actually been in development for about 20 years now, but these steps being taken could mean that production could soon begin.
In the same way that I, Tonya chronicled the life of Margot Robbie's Tonya Harding, the developing film is expected to unfold the rise and fall of Steve Banerjee, who arrived in the United States as an immigrant from India with big aspirations. Living in Los Angeles he made an investment purchasing the struggling night club Destiny II, and he revitalized the business by first starting female-only mud wrestling, and then employed the country's first male stripper troupe. This proved to be the birth of Chippendales – a multi-million dollar business.
This story doesn't exactly have a happy ending, however. Banerjee ended up with a habit of trying to hire hitmen to take out potential competition/threats, and that created one or two issues in the development of the company. He ended up pleading guilty to arson, racketeering, and murder for hire, and while he was sentenced to prison for 26 years, he committed suicide in 1994.
The material should make for a the basis for a fascinating performance from Dev Patel, who is no stranger to critical acclaim. He's only a few years removed from his first Oscar nomination, and can now be seen giving an absolutely delightful turn as the titular lead in Armando Iannucci's The Personal History Of David Copperfield. His upcoming slate also includes the completed David Lowery fantasy feature The Green Knight, which was initially supposed to be released this past spring but was delayed because of the pandemic.
As for Craig Gillespie, his Cruella de Vil film, which follows Maleficent as a remake of a Walt Disney Animation classic that features the villain as a protagonist, has been in post-production since late last year, and it is expected to be released on May 28, 2021.
The untitled Chippendales film doesn't presently have a distributor attached, but with Craig Gillespie and Dev Patel attached there is hope that situation will change soon. In the meantime, stay tuned for more details on the development of the project here on CinemaBlend.