Ben Stiller is set to direct “Bag Man,” a big-screen adaptation of Rachel Maddow’s hit podcast. The film is being developed at Focus Features.
In addition to directing duties, Stiller is also co-writing the script with Adam Perlman and Mike Yarvitz. The latter executive produced the podcast, which debuted in 2018, and later penned the book with Maddow.
The cast has not been announced.
Based on one of the most brazen political bribery scandals in American History, “Bag Man” centers on the 1973 political scandal surrounding Richard Nixon’s vice president Spiro Agnew, who quietly ran a bribery and extortion ring while nobody was paying attention. The improbable story asks: Is it possible for an American Vice President to carry out a criminal enterprise inside the White House and have nobody remember?
Maddow’s podcast went back 45 years to delve into a story, one filled with intrigue, corruption and mysterious envelopes of cash showing up at the White House, to uncover a story that’s hardly remembered today. The book, titled “Bag Man: The Wild Crimes, Audacious Cover-up, and Spectacular Downfall of a Brazen Crook in the White House,” was published in December 2020.
Maddow is executive producing the film with Nicky Weinstock, Michael Price, Erin David and Andrew Singer. Stiller is serving as a producer with Lorne Michaels, Yarvitz and Josh McLaughlin.
Stiller recently directed the Showtime limited series “Escape at Dannemora,” which fielded Emmy nominations for stars Benicio del Toro, Patricia Arquette and Paul Dano. He’s also helming the upcoming film “London” — starring Oscar Isaac — for Lionsgate.
Perlman’s resume includes writing for TV shows such as “Billions,” “The Good Wife” and “The Newsroom.”
Stiller is repped by WME and 3 Arts Entertainment. Perlman is repped by Gersh and Brillstein Entertainment Partners.