An internet misanthrope launches a message board for amateur stock pickers, gets kicked off, and then watches from a distance as this rogue community brings Wall Street to its knees.
This is the hot pitch that made Jaime Rogozinski the man every producer in Hollywood wanted to do business with. Earlier this week, Reddits founder WallStreetBets sold the rights to his life story to RatPac Entertainment, a production company known for supporting hits like Wonder Woman.
A film version of Mr. Rogozinski’s story will kick off and then move on to podcasts and other media, RatPac producers say.
In return for a low six-digit payment, Rogozinski granted exclusive access to RatPac producers – including company director Brett Ratner, a longtime Hollywood gamer who recently lost a major deal on sexual harassment allegations. They want to dramatize the story of his role in the WallStreetBets saga, which got stocks of companies like GameStop in trouble Corp.
Growing, driven hedge funds resulted in crippling losses, turning unlikely investors into big winners and losers.
Mr. Rogozinski is already speaking to authors who RatPac is considering writing the script for the feature film.
“Maybe I can go to the red carpet,” he said.
The race is on to bring the WallStreetBets saga to screen. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. has received a book proposal about the events from Ben Mezrich, whose earlier books were transferred to the films “21” and “The Social Network”. Netflix Inc.
is in talks with “Zero Dark Thirty” screenwriter Mark Boal about a film that would star the young heartbreaker Noah Centineo from “To All the Boys I Loved Before”.
Mr. Ratner said that his company is self-funding the project and that the access he now has to Mr. Rogozinski gives his project an advantage.
“Anyone can make a film about junk bonds, but if Mike Milken cooperates, how much more insight will you have?” he said, referring to the financier who is known for developing high yield bonds or junk bonds and an insider trading scandal that resulted in his prison sentence.
Mr Rogozinski, who says he still has no opinion on which actor to play him in the film, said he has spent the past two weeks in a daze. In addition to making phone calls to his parents and reporting from a distance to his sister’s house in Israel, he has sent messages from Hollywood producers eager to strike a deal for his life rights.
In just five days, GameStop shares rose up to 500%. WSJ analyzed how Reddit posts, YouTube videos and tweets from personalities like Elon Musk spread online, sparking a commercial frenzy that turned Wall Street on its head. Photo illustration: George Downs / WSJ
Securing the rights of life for a person whose story would make a compelling movie or television show is an increasingly popular tactic by producers seeking an advantage over other filmmakers who want to get involved in a big story. The deal often grants exclusive access to the subject, as well as diaries, photos, and other memorabilia that can substantiate the story.
In Mr. Rogozinski’s case, producers have the right to put his story into any form imaginable – podcast, documentary, TV series, or even live theater events such as a play.
The deal came together quickly, said Mr. Rogozinski. Shortly after he was featured on a number of news outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, Mr Rogozinski was bombarded by news from producers. Mr. Rogozinski was busy juggling media interviews with his day job and parenting duties and turned to his brother Joel Rogozinski for help.
Joel Rogozinski reached out to a childhood friend, Michael Smith Liss, who he knew was well connected in Hollywood. In return, Mr. Smith Liss was able to introduce the brothers to Mr. Ratner.
Mr. Ratner directed the “Rush Hour” and “X-Men: The Last Stand” trilogy, but has more recently been known to co-fund several major AT&T publications Inc.’s
Warner Bros., including Jersey Boys and Justice League.
Brett Ratner in 2017.
Danny Moloshok / Reuters
His contract with the studio was terminated in 2017 after several women accused him of sexual assault and harassment. Mr Ratner denied the charges made by prosecutors, including actress Olivia Munn. No charges were brought against Mr Ratner.
Since then, he has been comparatively cautious, claiming that he made documentaries without receiving named credits. He came across the WallStreetBets story, he said, after telling him what it meant by several friends in the hedge fund world. One of his best friends, he said, is Jordan Belfort, the former penny stock trader whose investment decline was reported in Martin Scorsese’s “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
“This story is a human story of power and insurrection, capitalism and socialism and a lot more,” he said.
Mr Rogozinski hopes the film will go beyond last month’s GameStop saga and show the entire journey of WallStreetBets. He also plans to share the lows of his time with WallStreetBets. Mr Rogozinski was thrown out of his moderator role last spring, which, in his opinion, has stung for some time.
“I put everything on the table. There will be some things that are extremely shocking, things that people don’t know about me, ”he said.
He’s no stranger to backlash. In the past few weeks, Reddit users bitter about his previous role at WallStreetBets have posted posts blowing him up. Some people even went to Amazon to leave negative reviews on their book.
News about the film contract can create tension. But Mr. Rogozinski said he learned not to feed the trolls.
“I won. You can pretend you have this fight,” he said.
Write to Erich Schwartzel at firstname.lastname@example.org and Akane Otani at email@example.com
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