EXCLUSIVE: Legendary Entertainment has set Oscar-nominated The Shape of Water co-writer Vanessa Taylor to write Bad Blood, the eagerly awaited Silicon Valley scandal movie that Adam McKay will direct with Jennifer Lawrence starring as Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of the controversial blood testing company Theranos. Taylor is set just as the John Carreyrou book Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in Silicon Valley hits bookshelves on Monday.
McKay sees the film following closely in the footsteps of his Oscar-nominated The Big Short and the Dick Cheney movie that comes later this year with Christian Bale as the polarizing former vice president. McKay expected to write himself, but has been so engaged in the Cheney movie, that he wanted to get Bad Blood pumping so he can make it possibly as his next film.
Since he and Lawrence decided to team on the film, the woes of Theranos’ and Holmes have been playing out in real time. The film casts a skeptical eye on how innovative companies gain astronomical valuations, and sometimes prove too good to be true. Wall Street fell in love with the potential behind a potentially disruptive company, with Theranos heralded as a revolutionary service that could test blood with only a pinprick instead of the traditional method of drawing blood by injection. That potential left Theranos with a $9 billion valuation as recently as two years ago. The company has since come under investigation over claims of inaccurate testing and Holmes’ own worth — at one point valued at $4.5 billion for her 50% stake — plummeted along with the worth of the company.
The Securities and Exchange Commission sued Holmes and Theranos, accusing them of fraudulently raising more than $700 million from investors through false or exaggerated claims. In exchange for settling the charges, Holmes agreed to pay a $500,000 fine, return 18.9 million shares, relinquish her voting control of Theranos, and be barred from serving as an officer or director of a public company for ten years.
The film will be produced by Gary Sanchez’s McKay, Will Ferrell, Kevin Messick and Lawrence.
While Wall Street fled from Theranos, Hollywood flocked to the story of her downfall. Nine bids were on the table before Legendary won the project that included the participation of McKay and Lawrence, and the book proposal by John Carreyrou, the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning Wall Street Journal writer who broke the story on Theranos for The Wall Street Journal in 2015. Carreyrou’s book is being published by Penguin Random House. For his work on Theranos, Carreyrou was awarded the George Polk Award for Financial Reporting, the Gerald Loeb Award for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism and the Barlett & Steele Award for Investigative Journalism in 2016.
Aside from teaming with Guillermo del Toro on The Shape of Water script, Taylor has been co-executive producer of 20 episodes of HBO’s Game of Thrones, and she is currently adapting the bestseller Hillbilly Elegy for Imagine, with Solo: A Star Wars Story‘s Ron Howard directing. Taylor is repped by ICM Partners, Management 360 and Ziffren Brittenham.