Sources have confirmed to the Tracking Board that top screenwriter Drew Pearce has been brought on board to pen the script for Paramount’s THE WEDDING STING. The film is being adapted from a feature in The Atlantic by Jeff Maysh, which details the incredible true story of one of the most successful–and outrageous–sting operations in history. Mary Parent is producing through her Disruption Entertainment.
The story centers on Flint, Michigan at a time when the community was going through a depression, with thousands of people laid off and forced to leave the town following the closing of several General Motors auto plants. Drug dealers from all over the state found the town to be a haven to peddle every drug possible, leading to Flint being labeled as “one of the worst cities in America to live in” in 1987.
With the police department lacking funds to round up all of the suspected dealers in town, a group of officers decided to organize a fake wedding, invite the suspects, and arrest them. The case became so legendary that law enforcement agencies all over the world began using it as a tool to teach future undercover agents how to practice successful drug stings.
The article, which was published in The Atlantic in May, was quickly optioned by Paramount in a competitive situation. It was Maysh’s third article to be optioned that month, with Channing Tatum picking up The Legend of the Panther Girl and Fox Searchlight snagging The Man Who Got America High.
It’s no surprise that The Wedding Sting ignited such a fierce bidding war, as its real-life protagonist is a tough female police officer, Debbie Williams, who “crawled, shot, and boxed her way through the male-dominated police academy in Flint.” Her partner, too, reads like a ready-out-of-the-box supporting character: a shaggy haired, heavyset chain-smoker, nicknamed ‘Moon’ for his tendency to drop his pants during undercover operations. The story itself contains ridiculous details (the wedding band played “I Fought The Law” as cue for the raid to begin) that are unbelievably true–and perfectly suited for a feature film adaptation.
Pearce has been a screenwriter on some colossal projects, including Iron Man 3 and this summer’s Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation. He’s currently attached to help tackle the scripts for both the upcoming Sherlock Holmes 3 and the Russo brothers’ male-centric companion reboot of Ghostbusters for Sony. He’s also writing and directing an animated family comedy, The Billion Brick Race, for Warner Bros.
Pearce is repped by WME.
Josh Lyons | Staff Writer