The companies won the rights in a highly competitive situation and have set up the project at Universal Pictures.
Ratliff’s article digs into the story of Nigerian Instagram influencer Ramon Abbas. The figure otherwise known as Hushpuppi, or the Billionaire Gucci Master, is alleged to have perfected a simple internet scam that allowed him to launder millions of dollars.
Packer and Abu’s project is described as a globetrotting action thriller — a hybrid of Catch Me If You Can and The Usual Suspects.
Writer discussions are said to be progressing quickly.
Will Packer and James Lopez will produce through their Will Packer Productions, with Abudu producing for EbonyLife.
“EbonyLife is uniquely positioned to ensure the depth and authenticity of this film,” said Abdu. “This is why we needed to partner with a major Hollywood producer like Will Packer Productions – they are equally invested in telling stories that resonate with our audiences. We understand the environment of poverty and deprivation that breeds highly talented and fundamentally flawed characters like Hushpuppi, and WPP knows how to create stories with global appeal.”
Added Packer: “Ten months ago Mo pitched us a rich and entertaining concept steeped in Nigerian culture that can only be told with the help of her unique perspective. Together we knew Evan’s work was the definitive telling and the perfect anchor of this saga.”
Will Packer Productions’ films have earned more than $1 billion, with 10 opening at No. 1 at the domestic box office, including Girls Trip and Night School, the respective top-grossing comedies of 2018 and 2017. The company’s other titles include The Photograph, Little, What Men Want, No Good Deed, the Ride Along films, Think Like a Man and sequel Think Like a Man Too, Takers, Obsessed, Breaking In and Stomp the Yard.
Nigerian media group EbonyLife Studios is dedicated to creating world-class and authentic African stories, through a range of co-production deals with international studios. As a TV and feature film producer, EbonyLife has created more than 5,000 hours of original programming across a variety of genres, as well as seven feature films, three of which are the highest-grossing movies of all time at the Nigerian box office.