After nabbing the rights to Jeff Maysh’s Narratively article, Fox Searchlight is now moving forward with the true story drama THE MAN WHO GOT AMERICA HIGH, with Pulse Films coming on board to produce. Lucas Ochoa and Thomas Benski are leading the charge with this one and producing via Pulse, who has typically shied away from narrative features in the past. David Greenbaum will oversee development on the crime drama for the studio.
The Man Who Got America High is based on the true story of Alfred Dellentash Jr, a pilot and music producer who flew acts like the Rolling Stones and the Grateful Dead in lavish private jets, all while serving as one of the key drug smuggler’s in Pablo Escobar’s empire and partner to crime boss Salvatore Ruggiero. The film will follow Dellentash’s rise to power, the height of his fame and celebrity, and the shattering downfall that cost him his reputation, his freedom, and almost lost him the love of his life.
Hollywood loves true crime and The Man Who Got America High is the next entry in a string of upcoming true story crime dramas. Black Mass, which follows notorious gangster Whitey Bulger, just opened this past weekend to decent numbers and critical acclaim, particularly for Johnny Depp’s performance as Bulger. This genre is known to attract A-listers and The Man Who Got America High provides another hefty role for the right thespian.
The project marks the second option for Maysh, who just this past May optioned another of his true crime articles, The Wedding Sting, to Paramount Pictures. Mary Parent is taking the reins on that adaptation, producing via her shingle Disruption Entertainment.
Pulse is the force behind some of the most talked about concert documentaries of recent memory, including LCD Soundsystem’s Shut Up and Play the Hits, Katy Perry: Part of Me, as well as films following Mumford & Sons, The Libertines, Backstreet Boys, and Viking Moses. They most recently completed another music documentary, Arcade Fire’s The Reflektor Tapes, which follows the Grammy-winning band as they finish their 2013 album “Reflektor” and set out on their world tour.
Pulse, also known for the award-winning docs Who Is Dayani Cristal? and 20,000 Days of Earth, released their first narrative, The Dirties, in 2013 and just wrapped on their second, the drama American Honey, which stars Shia LaBeouf.
In addition to producing a majority Pulse’s releases, Ochoa and Benski also executive produced Robert Eggers’ buzzed-about horror tale The Witch, which caused a stir following its Sundance premiere and was subsequently bought by A24. Benski will next executive produce Nightcrawler star Riz Ahmed’s directorial debut, Daytimer.
Clark Allen | Associate Editor