EXCLUSIVE: Southpaw director Antoine Fuqua and star Jake Gyllenhaal are reuniting to work on The Man Who Made It Snow, based on the true story of Max Mermelstein, a Jewish hotel engineer who transformed Pablo Escobar’s Medellin Cartel from a small mom-and-pop drug organization into a billion-dollar enterprise.
Fuqua is producing the project, previously known as Let It Snow, through his Fuqua Films banner. The pic will be the first from Fuqua Films’ first-look development, production and financing deal with IM Global sealed in September. Gyllenhaal also will serve as a producer alongside Fuqua, Tabor and IM Global’s Matt Jackson. IM Global CEO Stuart Ford will exec produce.
IM Global will fully finance and serve as co-producers on the picture, which shoots late next year. It also is handling international sales at AFM beginning this week.
The screenplay by Brett Tabor and Michael Kingston is based on the now-deceased Mermelstein’s best-selling autobiography.
Fuqua most recently enjoyed success with Denzel Washington starrer The Equalizer. The director is in postproduction on Southpaw, which stars Gyllenhaal as a boxer who fights his way to the top of his profession only to find his life falling apart around him. The Weinstein Company is handling domestic distribution on that film.
Gyllenhaal’s latest feature, the well-reviewed Nightcrawler, opened in a near-dead heat with Universal’s Ouija at the domestic box office this weekend.
The Snow deal was negotiated by WME and attorney Alan Hergott and IM Global’s Ford and Head of Business Affairs Deborah Zipser. Fuqua is repped by CAA and attorney Wendy Kirk and Tabor and Kingston by Mitch Smelkinson and Chris George.