It was back in 2008 that we first heard about Cocaine Cowboys, the feature film adaptation of Billy Corben‘s 2006 documentary. But development on that project’s been slow and erratic, and at this point it’s been nearly a year since we’ve heard any significant updates on the project.

As Mark Wahlberg does the press rounds for Contraband, however, he’s been chatting up a lot of the movies on his upcoming slate. And according to him, Cocaine Cowboys is not only still alive, it could get going as early as this summer — with Jennifer Lopez as a possibility for one of the juiciest parts. More details after the jump.

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In 2006, Billy Corben‘s documentary Cocaine Cowboys, about the rise of the drug trade in ’70s and ’80s Miami, became the jumping-off point for more than one project. By 2008 HBO had commissioned a pilot script for a series based on the documentary, and for several years a feature film has been in slow development also based on the doc.

We just heard that David O. Russell is attached to direct the feature version. And now, after being dormant for some time, the HBO series is coming back to life with a new pilot script from The Pacific writer Michelle Ashford. Read More »

It’s a pretty great time to be in when David O. Russell is as talked-about a director as any in Hollywood. That certainly wasn’t the case in years past, or when it was, the subject was the director’s temperament rather than his work. But since taking The Fighter he’s been looking at many new projects — at times quickly flipping from one to the next — almost as if he’s trying to weave and juke his way to a surprise ‘next film’ announcement.

Now there is word that the long-gestating film Cocaine Cowboys is his latest possible next project. Read More »

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In this day and age, it’s difficult for men to agree on much of anything, but we all feel that the Miami Hurricanes are the greatest college football team of all time. Yeah? A new feature-length doc entitled The U about the University of Miami’s equal parts legendary and notorious football program more than upholds this notion. As the latest entry in ESPN‘s 30 for 30 showcase, The U joins other sports documentaries made by reputable and well known filmmakers the likes of Peter Berg, Barry Levinson and forthcoming ones by Morgan Freeman and Jeff Tremaine of Jackass.

After the jump is a choice clip from The U and an interview with its producer, Alfred Spellman, who has made a name for himself alongside pal and U director, Billy Corben, with their Miami-based production company rakontur. Spellman discusses his doc, and the team itself within a historical and cultural context. He also updates on other projects including rakontur’s Cocaine Cowboys franchise, which is soon to be a major HBO series from Michael Bay.

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Earlier this month, we reported on the possibility of a new HBO show based on 2006′s engrossing hit documentary, Cocaine Cowboys, from uber players Michael Bay and Jerry Bruckheimer. Today, Slashfilm gives you an exclusive review of the script for Cocaine Cowboys‘ pilot episode written by Billy Corben and David Cypkin of Rakontur, the Miami-based production company behind the doc and its sequel (set for release this July). For legal reasons, we’ve omitted specific plot details in the review.

Being familiar with Rakontur’s M.O. and work from my time on Miami Beach, I had previously tagged their HBO show pitch as “the antithesis of Miami Vice.” So, it was no surprise to see the opening credits in the script described as such. Verbatim. But while the show’s oddly subdued credits might fit this “antithesis” (old farts playing shuffleboard, an idyllic underdeveloped Miami Beach circa ’79) , the pilot is not as leery of Don Johnson’s white blazers and Michael Mann’s kooky multiculti derelicts and crabs as I surmised. Recall that the first season of Miami Vice didn’t drip with Art Deco camp under Mann’s watch: the action exuded unprecedented cinematic flash and all of Miami was game, not just Miami Beach beauty. New York City figured into Vice‘s early storyline, as it does here. Everything in Cocaine Cowboys is similarly bigger-than-life but far seedier.

Cowboys‘ opening scenes–a hasty drug deal at sea set aboard a 150-foot vessel that’s quietly sinking under the careless supervision of incredibly stoned, hard partying Rasta thugs–conjures the same crotch-grabbing gusto and hyper-imagery on display in Mr. Bay’s Bad Boys II. The similarity is blatant, even. We’re talking requisite Miami bimbos jumping off a nearby sailboat after its comically set ablaze by a flare fired by an addled rudeboy named Chicken. Think swooping Bay-mentored aerial views of hot-boobs-overboard. Will HBO execs desire this sort of acronym? After reading the script a few times, I’d bet that the sought-after demographics would get sucked in quickly…and cocaine use would probably get a nice boost nationwide. Note: nothing in the script came off like Billy Walsh’s Medellin– thankfully–but Billy Walsh would definitely set his DVR.

Continue reading the script review of the Cocaine Cowboys pilot for HBO after the jump…

Discuss: Would you like to see a new HBO show from Bay, Bruckheimer and Rakontur about the ’80s cocaine trade and culture in Miami, Florida?

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Yeah, like that. Director/Moviegoer Upper Alexander Payne (Sideways, Election) will take a dip into TV to direct HBO‘s new dark comedy series, Hung. Variety reports that Payne is also expected to hop on as an executive producer. Personally, another show, even a good one, examining the psyche of a middle-aged American man, a former high school sports star and father at that, risks treading a well-worn road, but the hook to Hung is that the guy’s dick is huge. And apparently, he’ll learn to use this to his advantage. So, that’s different. The show was created by husband/wife team Dimitry Lipkin and Colette Burson (The Riches) and Burson had this to say…

“Think of him like Spider-Man. He’s an average guy who gets in touch with his innate superpowers.”

What, no Dream On comparison? This really cool news arrives on the heels of vague news about a future HBO series based on the doc Cocaine Cowboys from Jerry Bruckheimer and Michael Bay, so it looks like new HBO Entertainment prexy, Sue Naegle, is making very high profile and provocative moves. More on this/these shows as it develops…

Discuss: Who doesn’t want to watch this show with Payne involved?  

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I just got off the phone with cool Miami-based film producer, Alfred Spellman, in an attempt to get some concrete information about Jerry Bruckheimer and Michael Bay adapting his and director Billy Corben‘s acclaimed ’06 documentary, Cocaine Cowboys, into a new dramatic series for HBO and Warner Bros. You see, last night Variety published a very loose news item announcing that such an A-list project could be in the works with said talent. Spellman didn’t reveal much, but I did get him to admit he was siked. Go me. As he should be. His company, Rakontur, has Cocaine Cowboys 2: Hustlin’ with the Godmother due in June from Magnolia, and, as we previously reported, a feature film adaptation of CC is in the works from director Peter Berg with Mark Wahlberg set to star (and Leonardo DiCaprio involved in some capacity).

The mind races thinking about Bay and Bruckheimer being hands on with an ’80s period, Vice City-set HBO series filled with drugs, hot (hot, and hot) cars, South Beach trim, Escobar offspring, and gunplay. Alongside Showtime’s Weeds and AMC’s Breaking Bad, this series would complete TV’s drug diet. Variety reports that no writer is currently attached, but adds that Bay and Bruckheimer have been circling the project for quite a while. More on this if and when it develops…

Discuss: Does this sound like the bread winner HBO is currently missing? Does a gritty antithesis/’00s bookend to Miami Vice sound appealing?

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Do we really need more coke overdoses in Hollywood? According to Page Six, Leonardo DiCaprio is in talks to star opposite Mark Wahlberg in a live-action remake of the quite awesome documentary Cocaine Cowboys. DiCaprio would star as Mickey Munday, a hick-type airplane pilot with an attitude and an insatiable appetite for the drug trade.

I was just talking to a friend about this flick while listening to Toto’s “Africa,” and the role of Mickey Munday came up. We felt he was getting shorthanded by the main “star” (former soldier/cocaine dealer Jon Roberts, whom Wahlberg is set to play) and we joked that Munday would pitch Hollywood his own idea. If you haven’t Netflixed Cocaine Cowboys, now is the time to do so, because it blows away everything you ever thought about Miami, even if you lived there or went to college there like me.

For instance, Jon Roberts confesses in the doc that he used to pay off the Miami PD to shut down a Miami Beach causeway to allow for his car races. And in the special features, he talks about a psychic who was on his bankroll who told him when the heat was on. One day, this psychic gets furious with him because she “feels” that a body is in the trunk of the car that dropped him off. Turns out she’s right. Jon Roberts might be the most badass guy to ever cross his legs while wearing shorts in an interview.

Back in January, we voiced our semi-disgust at how these low rent drug dealers were getting their own big budget movies before people like The Ramones and Kurt Vonnegut do. If you look at the recent shitty fact-checking, self-mythologizing travesty that was American Gangster, you’ll understand our point. At the same time, we are looking forward to this movie and dreading it…

More Page Six madness…

The untitled flick “will blow Blow out of the water,” says a movie insider who added that Leo “is excited about the opportunity to play the airplane pilot who travels with Mark’s character to obtain kilos of cocaine from Pablo Escobar.”

And then they add that Leo’s “camp” says the rumors are completely false. I would say that’s not the case. DiCaprio definitely had this conversation with Wahlberg from what I hear. Starring in this type of movie provides a lot of benefits for a young man if you know what I mean, and this movie needs more star power than Wahlberg to compete with the numerous Pablo Escobar projects in development post writers’-strike. Peter Berg (The Kingdom) is still on board to direct.

Discuss: Do you want to see a movie that “blows Blow out of the water?” or would you rather see a big-budget D.A.R.E. movie a la G.I. Joe with more baggies and shirtless plebes? 

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