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Jodie Foster to direct Sugar Kings

26 July 2005  |  Written by   

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It may sound like a pimpin’ flick starring P.Diddy and Snoop Dogg, but Sugar Kings threatens to be something much more interesting. Produced by Robert De Niro’s Tribeca Films, the drama will tell the tale of a young lawyer who teams up with a veteran public-interest attorney to bring down powerful sugar barons. The story’s human-interest angle — the ‘sugar kings’ are exploiting their poorly-paid migrant cane-cutters — has proven strong enough to draw the attention of Jodie Foster, who’s slated to direct and possibly star.

Whether it’ll prove to be Foster’s answer to the multi-Oscar-nominated Erin Brockovich remains to be seen (though we’re pretty sure it will feature less cleavage). But an even more obvious comparison is The Insider, another giant-institution-basher in which two righteous underdogs take on a corrupt industry. In fact, Foster’s film is inspired by an article by Marie Brenner — the same journalist whose in-depth investigations spurred the Michael Mann film.

Brenner’s article, Kingdom Of Sugar, focused on two brothers, Alfy and Pepe Fanjul, who owned a sugar empire in Florida. The brothers were hounded by an attorney, Edward Tuddenham, who charged the two for enforcing slave labour on their 20,000-strong force of cane-cutters and hiding the injustice behind their political connections and social standing.

With Foster back on form in front of the camera and her third directorial effort, Flora Plum, in production right now, this could be the movie to switch you across to sugar-free Coke. Word of advice, though, Jodie: add a scene with Al Pacino sitting at a desk snorting a massive mountain of sugar while waving a huge gun around, and we’ll pay to see it twice.

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