〉 Bernbaum’s script is based on the true story of the FBI’s 1978 MiPorn operation
Sources have confirmed that Hollywoodland scribe Paul Bernbaum is penning the screenplay for a new period noir thriller SKIN TRADE, based on the incredible true story of FBI agent Pat Livingston and the Mafia-related pornography sting that nearly claimed his life. The film is being produced by Matt Geller and David Stern through Kipperman Management.
The story centers around model FBI agent Pat Livingston, who, in 1978, is sent undercover to infiltrate the pornography industry and arrest dozens of top-level Mafioso, but finds himself struggling with his own identity. As the line between fantasy and reality blurs, Pat falls deeper into his undercover persona, risking the success of the operation and threating to tear apart his life as he once knew it.
The remarkable true story was reported on in Time magazine in 1982, exploring Livingston’s life under the alias “Pat Salamone,” the name he used to masquerade as a pornography distributor in Miami. He and his partner, Bruce Ellavsky, made contacts with Mafia members across the country and arranged to have illegal merchandise shipped to them in an operation that became known as ‘MiPorn’.
Bernbaum is the writer of Next with Nicholas Cage and the aforementioned Hollywoodland, another period thriller based on a true story. The Adrian Brody crime drama centers on the investigation into Superman actor George Reeves’ mysterious death. Bernbaum’s latest project, K Blows Top, is being developed at HBO, with Jay Roach attached to direct and Paul Giamatti set for the lead of Nikkita Khrushchev.
With David Stern on board to produce, his client roster is potentially on the table to add some major talent to the project, including Giamatti Donal Logue, and David Morse. We’re hearing that producers are currently looking for the right director to capture both the period setting and noir tone.
Josh Lyons | Staff Writer