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Ben Stiller Says I Am Chippendales
And he may direct The Current War

31 March 2014  |  Written by James White  |  Source: Variety

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Hollywood has been looking at the origin story of the Chippendales for years now. Directors such as Barry Sonnenfeld and Tony Scott have danced around the project but nothing has happened. Now American Beauty writer/True Blood creator Alan Ball is taking a shot with I Am Chippendales, and Ben Stiller is in talks for a key role.

This will not, in case you were wondering, explain how a bunch of bodybuilders got into some radioactive baby oil and became a superhero team. The real-life story of how the male revue started is even more twisted and odd than that, focusing on Paul Snider Somen “Steve” Banerjee, the man who originated the idea for the stripping sensations.

Starting out running gas stations and mudwrestling clubs, Banerjee hit pay dirt when he came up with the idea of presenting male strippers in a choreographed, brand-named touring fantasy show. But behind the success was a catalogue of lawsuits and mad paranoia, culminating in Banerjee paying a hit man to have original 'dales choreographer Nick DeNoia murdered. Denied bail following evidence that he'd made arrangements to flee to India in a private plane, Banerjee hung himself in his cell, hours before his sentencing.

How much of Banerjee’s life will make it to screens in this new version remains to be seen, but Stiller is eyeing the role of DeNoia. Ball is adapting the script from Rodney Sheldon’s book on the matter.

In related Stiller news, Deadline also has it that he's considering directing Michael Mitnick’s fact-based drama script The Current War about the clash between electricity moguls Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse and their attempts to create a system that would work for America. It has been floating around since at least 2011, when the screenplay hit the Black List and attracted the attention of The Weinstein Company and director Timur Bekmambetov. The latter is now simply an executive producer, and Stiller has yet to make a deal for the project, but he’s definitely interested.

Acting-wise, Stiller is currently at work on Night At The Museum 3, which will hit our screens on December 19. He’ll also be seen in Noah Baumbach’s latest, While We’re Young, and is providing the voice of Alex for DreamWorks Animation’s The Penguins Of Madagascar, set for March 27 next year.


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