Spike Lee Strikes Gold
Taking over former Michael Mann project
A couple of years ago, there was talk of Michael Mann developing Gold, a tale of treasure-hunting and pan-handling in 1990s Indonesia. With Mann opting instead for his currently untitled Chris Hemsworth cyber-thriller however, Gold was up for grabs and has reportedly been snapped up by Spike Lee. He's the man, the man with the Midas touch. Or alternatively, he has the power to know he's indestructable.
The saga actually begins with Paul Haggis, who showed Mann the Gold screenplay by Patrick Masset and John Zinman simply as a writing sample to help the pair score other gigs in the future. But Mann liked it so much he bought it, and got it percolating with his Forward Pass production company. His interest only lasted until March last year, however, which was when he moved on.
What little is known about Gold so far indicates that it's looking to The Treasure Of The Sierra Madre as an inspiration, and that it's based around the true story of the 1993 Bre-X Corporation mining scandal. The official line so far is that the film follows "a rough around the edges prospector [likely based on geologist Michael de Guzman] who stumbles onto one of the largest gold mines in the world in the Indonesian jungle." Or does he?
Long story short: Bre-X Minerals' share value skyrocketed hundreds of percent on the announcement that they'd found immense gold reserves in the previously un-tapped Busan, Indonesia. Then it turned out there was no gold there at all, and the company valued at billions was suddenly valued at practically nuthin'. There were immense recriminations and at least one death.
Top drama, in other words, though obviously not for the Bre-X shareholders at the time. Mann has gone entirely from the project, not even remaining as a producer. So along with Lee, Gold now comes courtesy of Haggis, Masset and Zinman, along with Teddy Schwarzman of production company Black Bear PIctures, and Michael Nozik, who runs Hwy 61 with Haggis.
Lee, meanwhile, is currently in post-production on Oldboy, which is out in the US in October. The Wrap believes Gold is likely to be his immediate next movie, with shooting planned to start before the end of the year.