EXCLUSIVE: Netflix has landed the rights to Tanya Smith’s upcoming memoir, The Ghost in the Machine, and will adapt into a feature film with Issa Rae and David Heyman producing. Rae will produce through her Issa Rae Productions while Heyman will produce his Heyday Films. Smith will exec produce.
The memoir tells Smith’s unbelievable story— of how a middle-class black girl from the North Side of Minneapolis would, in the words of the FBI, “become one of the single biggest threats to the entire United States banking system.” The film will follow her extraordinary story of creating a sophisticated wire fraud scheme and outwitting the FBI and prosecutors, who underestimated her intelligence for years, before her life ultimately fell apart, leading to two prison escapes and finally serving 13 years of a 24-year sentence – at the time, the longest sentence handed down to any white-collar criminal.
Smith’s book, which was pre-empted by Little A/Amazon and will be published in 2021, will chronicle her rise and fall and share how she finally came to terms with her past and rebuilt her life. Montrel McKay and Sara Rastogi are overseeing on behalf of Issa Rae Productions and Jillian Share and Jeffrey Clifford are overseeing on behalf of Heyday Films.
Even as she continues to shine on her hit HBO series, Insecure, Rae has been quite active on the film front both as a producer and actor. She recently produced the musical documentary Dark City Beneath The Beat which chronicles the Baltimore club music scene and also starred Universals romantic drama The Photograph and the Netflix romantic comedy The Lovebirds, exec producing both pics.
Heyman landed two best picture Oscar nominations for producing Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time In Hollywood and Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story at this year’s Oscars. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood grossed $374 million at the worldwide box office and delivered Brad Pitt his first Oscar for acting. Marriage Story earned Laura Dern her first Academy Award.
Rae is repped by UTA and 3 Arts Entertainment. Heyman is represented by UTA and Smith is represented by UTA and Fletcher & Co.