EXCLUSIVE: We can tell you first that Oscar- and Emmy-nominated producer David Permut has picked up the rights to produce a narrative adaptation of Netflix’s acclaimed docuseries The Pharmacist which premiered earlier this year.
Permut is producing the film through his Permut Presentations banner alongside Jenner Furst, Julia Willoughby Nason and Mike Gasparro at The Cinemart, the team that directed and produced the docuseries. Brandon Riley and Keenan Porterfield will serve as EPs.
The docuseries tells the story of Dan Schneider, a small-town pharmacist in Louisiana who took it upon himself in 1999 to seek justice after the mysterious murder of his teenage son. Through his own detective work, Dan discovers that his only son was addicted to opioids and was murdered while on a desperate attempt to buy oxycontin. His obsession with convicting his son’s murderer leads him to uncover a string of highly illegal pill-mills, and ultimately brings light to the injustices of big pharma and their hand in the opioid epidemic.
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“Dan Schneider’s story provides a uniquely different approach to depicting the opioid crisis” Permut tells Deadline, “the implosion of this traditional American family has all the elements to be an incredibly relevant, compelling and emotional thriller. So many American lives have been shattered by the greed and immorality of big pharma, and I’m honored to be part of this team in telling Dan’s story. What he achieved by being one of the first to combat this national crisis is truly inspirational. The next step is to find a great screenwriter and filmmaker, as well as an actor to take on what is sure to be a tour-de-force role.”
“Dan Schneider used to say he felt like he was living in a Hollywood thriller,” said the team at Cinemart. “This is a David and Goliath story and we think we found the perfect partners to bring it to the big screen.”
Permut has been producing a number of features recently based on true stories that were subjects of documentaries. His two-time Oscar-winning movie Hacksaw Ridge was released congruently with the documentary The Conscientious Objector. Permut’s Jack Black comedy The Polka King was based on the documentary The Man Who Would Be Polka King; the narrative feature made its world premiere at Sundance in 2017 and was acquired by Netflix.
Permut is currently in development with Netflix and Will Ferrell is attached to star in the adaptation of Theo Love’s documentary The Legend of Cocaine Island. Permut is also adapting Sheela for Amazon starring Priyanka Chopra, with Barry Levinson directing the true story of the Rajneesh cult leader in Oregon.
Most recently, Permut produced the five-part Apple TV+ docuseries Visible: Out on Television, which is eligible for this Emmy season.
Permut’s next doc, which is currently in production with Wavelength (Knock Down the House) financing, and Don Argott and Sheena M. Joyce directing, is a companion piece to the upcoming narrative film starring Dev Patel about the birth of the Chippendales nightclub in 1980, which is slated for production next year.
Cinemart also made the 2019 Hulu doc Fyre Fraud and most recently announced the project Sign Language, which they are producing with LeBron James for Quibi, about the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal and its unprecedented fallout as one of the most far-reaching cheating schemes in the sport’s history.
Permut is represented by John Tishbi at Pearlman & Tishbi, LLC. Willoughby Nason, Furst and Gasparro are represented by Carissa Knol and Jonathan Gardner at Cohen & Gardner.
Watch the trailer for Netflix’s The Pharmacist below:
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