EXCLUSIVE: Ben Berkowitz and Max Berkowitz and their company Not A Billionaire (NAB) has optioned the book rights to the storied life of Danish renaissance man Peter Freuchen. NAB will co-produce a limited series based on the life of Freuchen with the legend’s grandson Peter Ittinuar Freuchen. The Berkowitz Brothers will serve as executive producers and the project is supported by The Redford Center and the Jewish Film Institute.
Freuchen was a peg-legged 6’7” Danish Jewish man who explored the Arctic, battled the Nazis, won a game show, starred in the Oscar-winning 1933 film Eskimo — and that was just a handful of his accomplishments. The Berkowitz Brothers and Freuchen’s grandson have done extensive research and secured the rights to several of Freuchen’s autobiographies detailing the story of a man who many said was ahead of his time.
“Peter Freuchen’s story is nothing like I have ever come across; it’s inspiring, complex and unimaginable, but in spite of the world trying to put him in a box, he consistently showed enormous grit and defiance, and I think that’s an incredibly relatable and timely tale to tell,” said Ben Berkowitz, NAB’s co-founder. “Freuchen was a truly multi-faceted human, and his life makes for the ultimate fish-out-of-water tale. It will be dark, funny, and deeply moving, highlighting the complexities of a man who was always at odds with his surroundings, but never feared being the outsider.”
Freuchen’s grandson adds, “This project is long overdue. Peter (Piitarsuaq) Freuchen was literally and figuratively larger than life. He embraced life as if it was the only time that we humans will ever have cognizance. He was far, far ahead of his time in accepting people who were different than him, and in fact, married an Inuit woman—the love of his life—according to her customs. Ben and his brother are the only team I can imagine pulling this off. This series will do its utmost to capture and portray my grandfather’s larger-than-life story, and we can only hope that it is worthy of him.”
Last year, Deadline exclusively reported that NAB is developing a fantasy adventure series The Forever House with Mike Mignola, the creator of Hellboy as well as Starburns Industries, the producers of Oscar-nominated Anomalisa and Rick and Morty.
The Berkowitz Brothers and NAB are managed by Octagon, the global entertainment representation arm of the Interpublic Group of Companies, and legal by Fox Rothschild LLP.