Marching Powder film - shot from the book's front coverThe Marching Powder film, is a planned movie adaptation of the book of the same name by Rusty Young, which has been given the green light to be released as a film. From what we’ve been able to find out previously, it’s being created by Brad Pitt’s production company, Plan B Entertainment, along with Periscope Entertainment and Crescendo Productions, however, Deadline has recently stated that it will be New Regency taking the movie forward.

Don Cheadle (Iron Man 2, Swordfish, Oceans Eleven and Hotel Rwanda) had been earmarked as the imprisoned drug smuggler Thomas McFadden, as well as being the Producer for the film originally, but again this has been sightly altered by Deadline’s recent New Regency announcement. Now, according to the Hollywood breaking news site, it will be 12 Years A Slave star, Chiwetel Ejiofor, taking on the lead role of McFadden.

Previously, the rights to the movie adaptation of the book had been in the hands of Plan B Entertainment, who worked with New Regency on 12 Years A Slave, but if Deadline is right about the rights now being in the hands of the latter, it sounds like Pitt’s company has passed the baton on this one.

Now that the news is starting to get a bit more detailed about the film, it shouldn’t be too long before we get a full cinematic release date for the project, along with more cast details, like who will be playing Rusty Young. Brazilian director Jose Padhila had been attached to write and direct the movie when it is eventually released, but we’ll have to wait and see if that’s still the case with the New Regency production.

The plot is based on the book of the same name (read our Marching Powder book review for more information), which follows McFadden’s bizarre incarceration in Bolivia’s “most notorious prison”, San Pedro. It’s where the finest cocaine in Bolivia is produced, cells are a part of the property ladder and tourist visits are available to passing backpackers as advertised in the Lonely Planet travel guide.

The story picks up as Thomas is double crossed by a Police official in La Paz just as he is about to pull off a large drug run out of Bolivia, leading him to be sent to San Pedro to await a lengthy trial and appeal process. Documenting his brutal first experiences of prison life, right the way through to his move up the prison pecking order, and eventual tour guide status, Marching Powder is a great insight into a hole of a different world and the film should see it get a whole new appreciation.

The book itself was written by Rusty Young when he visited McFadden in San Pedro towards the end of his prison sentence, having heard his story on the traveller grape vine from his home in Australia. Visiting him as frequently as he could, Rusty eventually managed to pull together enough of the details, despite the growing suspicion of the guards, to write the story in full.

According to the Marching Powder Facebook page neither Thomas McFadden or Rusty Young have creative control over the film. However, they are consultants for the production, so hopefully it will have some of the same humour, brutal realism and insight that the book had.

The screenplay for the film is currently being written, but little is known about when the film will be going into production, let alone getting its release date. More information on the Marching Powder film will be added as it becomes available, however, the hope is that it’ll be getting a cinematic release in the not too distant future.

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