the seven five

Ben Stiller is ready to take on some crooked cops with The Seven Five, a film based on the documentary of the same name. The doc, which is pretty damn great, tells the story of some very, very dirty NYPD cops who reigned in the 1980s. At one point, White Boy Rick director Yann Demange was going to direct a feature adaptation for Sony, with The Queen’s Gambit scribe Scott Frank tackling the script. Now, the project is over at MGM, and Stiller hopes to direct from a script he worked on with Tony McNamara (The Favourite).

Released in 2014, Tiller Russell’s The Seven Five was basically a Martin Scorsese movie in documentary form. The doc tells the sordid tale of the “dirtiest cop in NYC history,” Michael Dowd. In the doc, the real Dowd reveals “how he and his partner committed a long list of crimes, including running their own cocaine ring, while on the job in the 1980s and early ’90s,” and the end result is both wildly entertaining and deeply disturbing.

Now, Ben Stiller wants to turn the story into a narrative feature. Collider reports that Stiller is in talks to direct the film over at MGM. Sony previously had the rights to the material and had planned on making it into a movie directed by Yann Demange and written by Scott Frank. That was back in 2014, and since then, The Seven Five has gone to MGM, and Stiller has apparently been working on a new script with Tony McNamara (The Favourite). While Stiller is primarily known for his comedic work he also directed the drama series Escape at Dannemora, which earned both rave reviews and a few awards.

Collider adds that Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Nicholas Hoult have both been considered to play Dowd, and boy oh boy, I hope Stiller goes with someone more interesting. Look, Taylor-Johnson and Hoult are fine, I guess, but neither of them is the type of actor I’d like to see in this sort of film. You need someone with a bit more grit. Dowd and his fellow crooked cops were rough around the edges.

While I’m curious to see what Stiller does with this story, I also think a narrative feature is almost unnecessary in a lot of ways. Russell’s documentary tells the tale in such a concise, cinematic way that there’s not much need to dramatize things. But I’m certainly willing to give the flick a chance whenever it arrives. In the meantime, if you’ve yet to see The Seven Five, I urge you to check it out.

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