EXCLUSIVE: It’s a true story written for the big screen and producer Arthur Sarkissian is bringing it: Four older men — aged 76, 74, 67 and 58 — were the ringleaders in what has been dubbed the biggest burglary in English legal history. It happened during Easter weekend of last year, and they made off with a haul of $21M in gold and jewelry. But they weren’t just some old guys, but actually were career criminals who, it turned out, were responsible for some of the biggest robberies in English history. Once caught, Scotland Yard revealed that the crew had spent almost three years planning the crime, recruited four others to help them, and all worked over four days straight to break into the London vault of the Hatton Garden Safe Deposit. (The jewelry district in London is called Hatton Garden.)
Sarkissian, who is in London in production on the untitled Martin Campbell project starring Jackie Chan and Pierce Brosnan for STX Entertainment, just secured the rights, buying up the New York Times story about the heist and also another media report overseas. He is currently in talks with a couple of screenwriters and will hire one of the two, and then set his sights on a director.
The four ringleaders of the gang were dubbed the Diamond Geezers in London and in France as the Grandad’s Gang. The four then recruited others aged 60, 58, 48, and 42. The story is so rich that three days ago Michael Caine told Sky News that he would love to be in a movie about this, saying he “would do it in an instant.”
One of the men, who walked through the front door of the Hatton Garden and then let the others in via the fire escape, was never caught. The eldest member of the crew actually used his senior citizen bus pass to take public transportation to get to the scene of the crime. They planned the job meeting every Friday night in a bar. After they were caught, one of the men who had been recruited actually had a Forensics For Dummies book in his apartment. Some of the men were hard of hearing.
“It’s an incredible story and has all the making of a great movie,” Sarkissian told Deadline. Asked how they were caught, the producer said, “It’s not very clear how. I know they visited a local pub and they talked about it. Those are the details that I’m trying to pull together.”
Sarkissian, the producer who found mega-success with the Rush Hour franchise, said his wish list includes Caine, Terence Stamp and Gary Oldman. The roles are ripe for a number of older actors. Other names that popped up with Sarkissian are Ray Winstone, Edward Fox, Ian McShane, Tom Courtney, Ben Kingsley and Brosnan.