Tony Scott filming Chippendales biography
News came out this week that really surprised me, with the combination of the figure under the biographical microscope and the director attached to make the film, I was a bit surprised, nay even shocked. Let's see how you fair with the news.
Tony Scott is going to be making a biographical film about the man who was responsible for creating The Chippendales, Steve Banerjee. Now while that single line may seem bizarre, it's when you get into the story of Banerjee that you realise how good this story could be on film, and what Scott could bring to it.
The story of Somen Banerjee, now known as Steve Banerjee, began in Bombay in 1947 and moved on somewhere between the sixties and seventies, arriving in California in the early seventies. There he opened a gas (petrol) station, and went onto running a backgammon club which folded and took with it a large chunk of his money.
That led him to buy a struggling rock and roll bar in LA called Destiny II and turned it into a disco with performers, and four years later he changed it again, calling it Chippendales and featuring female mud wrestling and a Male Exotic Dance Night for Ladies Only.
Come the early eighties he had built the club to the best of the male strip clubs in America, and the men were almost as famous as the club itself.
During the later eighties things didn't go well for the club as law suits and problems resulted in it nearly folding. Problems persisted between Banerjee and his business partner, Nick DeNoia, another law suit later and DeNoia was found shot in the face by a hitman for hire.
The club closed, Banerjee was associated with the killing but the case was never solved, he bought the rights to the Chippendales from DeNoia's family and he took them on tour all round the world.
In 1990 things went from bad to worse as Banerjee hired the same hitman to kill the former Chippendales choreographer Mike Fullington, who had moved to the rival group Adonis, and several ex-Chippendales dancers who had also left and joined Adonis. However the hitman hired an FBI informant to do the job and they were caught.
In the end Banerjee was charged with two murders and three charges of conspiracy to commit murder, as well as various other charges. He pleaded guilty to some charges and plea bargained others down, but still, three months later, just before his sentencing, he hung himself.
You can read the full story over at Diasporic which has more detailed events of the story. Thanks to them I could give you the shortened write up above.
So now it seems a much richer story for Tony Scott to direct, and perhaps now you can see the reasons that he's associated with the film, much more than the Variety article suggested.
Lisa Schrager is set to write the script adapted from a manuscript by Rodney Sheldon. Apparently the film will have a feel akin to True Romance, which would seem so on the face of things since the stories are about money and crime.
However, let's wait for the script to be turned in and then for Scott to make a choice. In the meantime though, it sounds like an interesting story that really could explore the darker side of people.