EXCLUSIVE: Matthew McConaughey has become attached to star in The Billionaire’s Vinegar, the Sony Pictures film about the scandal that ensued when an auctioned cache of wine bottles purported to have been owned by Thomas Jefferson were called fakes. Script is by Michael Brandt and Derek Haas, the team behind Wanted, 3:10 To Yuma and Chicago Fire. Escape Artists and Overbrook Entertainment have been developing the project for several years, based on the book by Benjamin Wallace that Crown published. The film will be produced by Todd Black, James Lassiter, Jason Blumenthal, Steve Tisch and Will Smith. They took this one on after teaming on The Pursuit Of Happyness and Seven Pounds.
The Billionaire’s Vinegar: The Mystery Of The World’s Most Expensive Bottle Of Wine starts in 1985, when a Forbes family member paid $156,000 at auction for a bottle of 1787 Chateau Lafite Bordeaux, which Christie’s of London billed as part of a Jefferson cache discovered in France. The wine was supplied by Hardy Rodenstock, a music manager-turned-wine dealer who somehow unearthed several bottles of old wine. After paying $500,000 for the Jefferson bottles, billionaire Bill Koch paid twice that for an investigation to confirm their origins and then sued Rodenstock. The title comes from the peculiar fact that collectors spend tons of money for wine they will never drink or even open.
CAA-repped McConaughey starred in the Gus Van Sant-directed Sea Of Trees and is shooting the Gary Ross-directed Free State of Jones. He’s booked to star in the Stephen Gaghan-directed Gold for Black Bear Pictures. The scribes are repped by WME and Industry Entertainment’s Andrew Deane.