EXCLUSIVE UPDATE: Paramount has prevailed in a seven figure deal to develop a movie out of The Corporation: An Epic Story of the Cuban American Underworld. The deal was sold based on a 100 page proposal for a book by TJ English. Benicio Del Toro is attached to play Jose Miguel Battle Sr. (“El Padrino”), the leader of “The Corporation” – also known as “The Godfather.” Appian Way’s Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson will produce with The Picture Company’s Andrew Rona and Alex Heineman. They will produce with Jaydee Freixas and Tony Gonzalez, who controlled the rights. Paramount’s Liz Raposo championed this and Michael Hampton is the Appian Way exec who was all over this. It got pretty hot and heavy today in bidding, with multiple suitors in the mix. David Matthews, a writer on the HBO series Vinyl, will adapt the book.

Battle had an illustrious career on both sides of the law. He was Batista’s bag man, bringing him his cut from the gambling casinos when the Mafia ran Cuba. Battle escaped to the States where he and other Cubans were trained by the CIA to invade the country at the ill-fated Bay of Pigs. Having saved the lives of 28 of his men, The Godfather came out of that debacle as a certified hero to many Cuban-Americans. The core of the gang had been trained as a unit, and together formed “The Corporation.” They started out running the popular numbers racket, known as “bolita,” but soon moved on to money laundering and murder. The nonfiction book will be published in winter 2017 by William Morrow. It’s being called a Cuban version of The Godfather and American Gangster. Several other studios bid on the property. There was one from Sony, with Scott Rudin, Amy Pascal and Paul Greengrass, but they bowed out early this evening over price. Ratpac and Heyday were into it with Oscar Isaac attached to play the title character;  Lionsgate and MGM teamed with Joby Harold and Tory Tunnell’s Safehouse Pictures and Antoine Fuqua; and Universal and producer Scott Stuber were also bidding. Paradigm brokered the book deal, and LBI Entertainment reps Del Toro, DiCaprio and Appian Way. This was a statement buy for Paramount in its relationship with Appian Way, which just moved its deal over there from Warner Bros. It is a priority for Brad Grey to get the prolific production company into big properties, and this has the potential to be just that. Del Toro is coming off a sizzling performance in Sicario, and this is an opportunity to play another badass character. It also gives The Picture Company a big film, as it preps the Liam Neeson-starrer The Commuter.

This comes on the heels of last month’s book rights deal that was culminated the biggest and wildest auction in memory, when Imperative Entertainment paid $5 million to win rights to make a movie out of David Grann’s book Killers Of The Flower Moon: An American Crime And The Birth Of The FBI, which Doubleday is publishing next spring.

1st UPDATE: Two other bidders also are after the Cuban American underworld tale The Corporation: Lionsgate and MGM for Joby Harold and Tory Tunnell’s Safehouse Pictures and Antoine Fuqua, and Universal with Scott Stuber.

EXCLUSIVE, 2:54pm PST: A bidding battle has erupted over The Corporation: An Epic Story of the Cuban American Underworld, based on a 100-page proposal by bestselling author TJ English. The nonfiction book will be published in winter 2017 by William Morrow. It’s being called a Cuban version of The Godfather and American Gangster. Jaydee Freixas and Tony Gonzalez are attached to produce and they are on the ground floor of all the bids.

This comes on the heels of last month’s book rights deal that was culminated the biggest and wildest auction in memory, when Imperative Entertainment paid $5 million to win rights to make a movie out of David Grann’s book Killers Of The Flower Moon: An American Crime And The Birth Of The FBI, which Doubleday is publishing next spring.

Bidders are still mobilizing for The Corporation, but I’m hearing that Paramount is chasing it for its new first-look deal partner Appian Way’s Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson, with Benicio Del Toro eyeing the lead and The Picture Company’s Andrew Rona and Alex Heineman also producing, and Vinyl writer David Matthews attached to adapt. Sony is into it with Scott Rudin and Amy Pascal producing and Paul Greengrass part of it. A bid is mobilizing from Ratpac’s Brett Ratner and Heyday’s David Heyman, one where Oscar Isaac is being mentioned for the lead role.

Here’s the logline: The unique, untold American gangster story of Jose Miguel Battle Sr. (“El Padrino”), the leader of “The Corporation” – also known as “The Godfather.” He was Batista’s bag man, bringing him his cut from the gambling casinos when the Mafia ran Cuba. Battle escaped to the States where he and other Cubans were trained by the CIA to invade the country at the ill-fated Bay of Pigs. Having saved the lives of 28 of his men, The Godfather came out of that debacle as a certified hero to many Cuban-Americans. The core of the gang had been trained as a unit, and together formed “The Corporation.” They started out running the popular numbers racket, known as “bolita,” but soon moved on to money laundering and murder.

Battle and his associates never gave up the dream of killing Castro and reclaiming Cuba; they became financiers of the anti-Castro movement by funding paramilitary groups such as the Iran-Contras, Omega 7, and Alpha 66. The Corporation would survive and grow until finally being brought down by a detective who pursued them relentlessly for over 15 years. The story of The Corporation is not only the story of a unique criminal enterprise, but also the story of a generation and a culture defining itself through a brutal version of the American Experience.

Paradigm is repping the whole package and this one could get big. Stay tuned.