Snitches get stitches in prison, but this story is too juicy to keep locked up.
The Tracking Board hears that Benicio del Toro is in negotiations to star opposite fellow Oscar winner Patricia Arquette in ESCAPE AT CLINTON CORRECTIONAL, an eight-episode limited series about the 2015 prison escape in upstate New York that Ben Stiller will direct for Showtime.
On June 6, 2015, Richard Matt and David Sweat were discovered missing during an early morning bed check at the maximum security Clinton Correction Facility. Both men were serving life without parole for murder. In a scene reminiscent of The Shawshank Redemption, they used tools to dig a tunnel beyond the prison walls, where they planned to meet Joyce Mitchell, a Clinton Correctional employee who wanted Matt to kill her husband, but later changed her mind and never showed up. The subsequent manhunt lasted three weeks — one man died, the other captured — with the entire investigation said to have cost $23 million.
Arquette will play Mitchell, and del Toro will play Matt, should his deal close. It’s still early, as everyone’s schedules are still being worked out.
Stiller’s involvement with the project has been rumored for the past year, ever since he was spotted in the Dannemora area of Northern New York. Dannemora residents said they saw Stiller checking out the manhole from which the inmates escaped, while people in Malone, NY saw him at King’s Wok Buffet, where Mitchell reportedly ate prior to the escape.
At the time, Stiller told local residents he was doing research for a movie, but it seems that the project has changed shape, possibly due to the fact that limited crime series such as True Detective and The Night Of, and true crime documentaries such as The Jinx and Making a Murderer, have become all the rage these days.
Brett Johnson and Michael Tolkin, who met while writing on Showtime’s Ray Donovan, are writing and executive producing Escape at Clinton Correctional. Michael De Luca, Bryan Zuriff and Nicky Weinstock will also serve as executive producers.
Del Toro will soon be seen reprising his role as deadly assassin Alejandro in the Sicario sequel Soldado, and he also plays the villain in Star Wars: The Last Jedi. He’ll also return as The Collector in Avengers: Infinity War. Del Toro is represented by CAA, LBI Entertainment and Hansen, Jacobson.
Arquette won an Oscar for Boyhood and will soon be seen opposite Rainn Wilson in the indie comedy Permanent. She also recently executive produced the documentary Equal Means Equal. She’s repped by Gersh and 3 Arts Entertainment.
Stiller’s directing credits include the comedies The Cable Guy, Zoolander and Tropic Thunder, as well as Reality Bites and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Clinton Correctional is a bit of a departure for the filmmaker, but one well within his wheelhouse. He next stars in Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories at Netflix, and Mike White’s Brad’s Status at Amazon. Stiller is repped by WME and Gang, Tyre, Ramer & Brown.
Jeff Sneider | Editor in Chief