After tackling quirky family dynamics as rehabilitated through pageantry dancing and the fantasy relationship of a depressed, privileged novelist, of course Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris are making a movie about the co-founder of the Black Panthers.
The Ruby Sparks and Little Miss Sunshine duo have signed a deal with Sony to helm The Big Cigar, an Argo-like story of a fake movie production used as cover for smuggling a man named Huey Newton not back to America, but out of America to Cuba. Newton was a major figurehead of the Black Panthers Party, but when allegations that he was involved in the shooting of a prostitute and the beating of his tailer surfaced, he decided to split lest the government silence him with the charges.
It’s a complicated story considering Newton was something of a political gangster, ordering hits, having members of the Panthers killed to “clean house” and other rather nasty doings amidst his political work. And though Newton was ultimately acquitted for the murders because the trail became such a circus, he later tacitly admitted to the killing. So, not a nice guy, and I don’t think they’ll be fitting him into a quirky story in which Easy Rider producer Bert Schneider fronts a fake movie to get him to Cuba with lots of close shaves and grumpy Alan Arkin.
That said, there’s no reason this can’t make for a fascinating story and a unique look at the tumultuous era. It’s nowhere near Dayton and Faris’ wheelhouse, but I’ll be curious to see if they manage to widen the scope and complexity of their filmmaking. Ruby Sparks includes some subtle hints of more moral ambiguity in their work, so we’ll see how this develops. Casting too will be key to pulling this off.
Source | Deadline