Over the past few years, the buzz surrounding true crime and people’s desire to get their fix has led to directors falling over themselves to secure the next big non-fiction hit. Upcoming feature movies we can look forward to in 2017/18 include real-life stories of extortion, mobsters, heists, and murder of the most sinister kind.
These are the following movies you can expect everyone will be talking about…
Honorary Mention: Devil In White City
The rumor that Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio will team up to tell the story of America’s first serial killer, Dr. Henry Howard Holmes, has been doing the rounds for over a year now. If the feature film goes ahead, this will be their sixth collaboration as they adapt Erik Larson’s bestselling book The Devil in the White City for the big screen.
DiCaprio will take on the role of Holmes, who was described by John Barlow Martin in his essay The Master of the Murder Castle as “Young, good-looking, glib, he mesmerized businessmen and captivated and seduced pretty young women, at least two of whom he married bigamously.” Scorsese told the Toronto Sun, “Right now, there is a script being worked on… One of the things that I had to stop for the past six months… was my meetings on that script. They want me to start again in January and see if we can find a way because it’s an extraordinary story.”
In 1893, Holmes built a hotel in Chicago which was nothing less than a giant, elaborate torture chamber, a death trap in which rooms contained a uniquely cruel and unusual way to die. He eventually confessed to 27 murders, although only nine were confirmed, yet the actual body count could have been up to 200.
10. Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
Release date: TBD
Zac Efron will star as Ted Bundy in a new film titled Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile. The film will chronicle the crimes of Bundy, from the perspective of his longtime girlfriend, Elizabeth Kloepfer, who was in a relationship with the serial killer for seven years.
The film will be directed by Oscar-nominated Joe Berlinger who is best known for the Paradise Lost documentaries about the West Memphis Three. Efron will take on the challenging role in a bid to shake off his teen star image; recently he has appeared in comedies Bad Neighbours and Dirty Grandpa.
In 1969, Elizabeth “Liz” Kloepfer met Ted Bundy when she worked as a secretary. During their relationship, Bundy had already begun his killing spree and a concerned Liz reported her suspicions to the police. In 1974, she told them, “Ted went out a lot in the middle of the night. And I didn’t know where he went. Then he napped during the day. And I found things, things I couldn’t understand.”
9. American Made
Release Date: 29th September 2017
Adler “Barry” Seal was an American drugs and arms smuggler, an aircraft pilot, and money launderer who flew flights for the Medellín Cartel – whose leader was Pablo Escobar. During his time as a commercial pilot, he flew for Trans World Airlines before he was fired from the company. Re-employed by the cartel, he would transport numerous shipments of cocaine from Colombia to the United States – earning as much as $500,000 per flight.
Eventually, his connections to the cartel and drug smuggling landed him in Florida’s federal court. After he was sentenced, he turned informant for the DEA.
The film was due for release earlier this year but that date has since been pushed back to September. Tom Cruise, himself a trained pilot, will play the lead role of Barry Seal.
Watch the trailer here:
8. Billionaire Boys Club
Release Date: Autumn 2017
The Billionaire Boys Club is set in the early 1980s and follows a group of wealthy boys in Los Angeles who set up a get-rich-quick scam that leads to deadly consequences for them and others around them. The film was announced by Variety with an all-star cast including Taron Egerton, Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irvine, Emma Roberts, Suki Waterhouse, Judd Nelson and Billie Lourd its set to be one of the most talked about true crime movies of 2017.
Joe Hunt, real name Joseph Henry Gamsky, started the investment and social club in southern California in 1983. The organization was run as a Ponzi scheme and the young members lived a lavish lifestyle all thanks to their unknowing investors. In 1984, funds ran short and Hunt even turned to murder to try and raise more money for the club.
7. The Silent Man
Release Date: September 2017
The Silent Man starring Liam Neeson as FBI official Mark Felt who revealed himself in 2005 as “Deep Throat”, the nickname given to him by Washington Post as they uncovered the Watergate scandal which led to President Richard Nixon’s resignation in 1974. The film will also star Diane Lane, Michael C. Hall, and Tom Sizemore.
Sony Pictures Classics, who bought the rights to the film, said, “Mark Felt was one of the most instrumental figures in American history and yet very little is known of him and the risks he took to reveal the truth. This is an incredible story well told by Peter and his creative team, with a top-notch cast led by an extraordinary performance from Liam. This film could be not more timely and relevant for audiences.”
Watch the trailer here:
Release date: Late 2017
Borden House, a B&B in Fall River, Massachusetts, is known for its bloody history. This was the scene of one of America’s most notorious murder cases – the Lizzie Borden case. On the 4th of August, 1892, Abby and Andrew Borden were murdered with more than 29 blows from an ax. The couple’s daughter, Lizzie, was found responsible despite the lack of evidence. She was later acquitted of the murders.
This year “Lizzie” will star Chloë Sevigny, Kristen Stewart, Denis O’Hare, and Jeff Perry. Coming Soon writes, “When a young maid comes to work for the Borden family, Lizzie finds a sympathetic and kindred spirit, and what begins as innocent companionship eventually escalates into attraction, love and bloody vengeance.”
5. Entering Hades
Release Date: TBC
Entering Hades is based on the true crime novel by John Leakes about serial killer Jack Unterweger who was a celebrated Austrian journalist and best-selling author. Unterweger had a double life – investigating murders by day and killing by night – the body count is believed to be 11 people.
Variety exclusively revealed that Michael Fassbender is in talks to take on the lead role. Gabriel and Daniel Hammond, CEO and Chief Creative Officer of Broad Green Pictures, revealed, “With Michael’s keen ability to bring captivating characters to the big screen, we are confident that ‘Entering Hades’ will be an entertaining thriller that draws a big audience.”
4. My Friend Dahmer
Release Date: Fall 2017
Jeffrey Dahmer, known as the Milwaukee Cannibal, murdered and dismembered seventeen men and boys between 1978 and 1991. He would strip the bodies of flesh and store these parts in his fridge at home so he could consume them later. The public was so outraged, he stood trial behind a sheet of bullet-proof glass. On November 28th, 1994, Dahmer was beaten to death in prison by a fellow inmate at the Columbia Correctional Institution.
My Friend Dahmer is adapted from the graphic novel by the killer’s real-life acquaintance Derf Backderf and features Disney star Ross Lynch (Austin & Ally) as Dahmer.
Lynch told EW last month, “I play Jeffrey Dahmer around his high school years. (The film is about) how he became the serial killer that we know him to be. I was looking for a role that would somewhat be a challenge for me. I had done a lot of work with Disney, and sort of a younger demographic, and I was excited to do something that maybe people didn’t expect from me. And I had a really good time doing it.”
Release Date: 2018
Ethan Hawke and Noomi Rapace are set to star in the film Stockholm according to reports by Deadline. Based on the true crime story of the 1973 bank heist and the hostage crisis in Stockholm, when the hostages bonded with their captors and turned against the authorities. The case prompted the psychological phenomenon now known as “Stockholm syndrome.”
Jonathan Kier, Sierra/Affinity’s President of International sales and distribution, told Variety, “‘Stockholm’ will offer moviegoers a raw glimpse into intense events that transpired over four decades ago coining a psychological condition that still intrigues the world today.”
2. The Irishman
Release Date: 2019
Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran was a labor union official who was accused of having links to the Bufalino crime family. Standing at 6ft 4″ tall, when he left the military service following World War II, he became a trucker but made extra money on the side by committing crimes – these crimes included ‘murder for hire.’
Mafia boss Russell Bufalino, the head of the Bufalino crime family, acted as Sheeran’s mentor throughout his life. Before his death in 2003, Sheeran confessed to killing Teamster leader Jimmy Hoffa. Author Charles Brandt detailed the confession in the book I Heard You Paint Houses.
Earlier this year, Netflix acquired the rights to The Irishman – Martin Scorsese will direct with Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel and Al Pacino starring. De Niro will play the lead role and this will mark the ninth De Niro and Scorsese collaboration.
Release Date: TBC
Talk to anyone about prohibition gangsters and in all likelihood, the first name they’ll mention will be Alphonse Gabriel ‘Al’ Capone. Nearly ninety years since his heyday, Capone’s name still pops up regularly in modern culture, yet it’s easy to forget that for all his showboating and media-savviness, Al Capone was a violent killer who gained his power by murdering anyone who stood in his way.
Tom Hardy will take on the role of the notorious Gangster in a new biopic, Fonzo. He previously took on the challenging role of The Kray Twins in the British film, Legend. According to Deadline, the film on the end of Capone’s life as “dementia rots his mind and his past becomes present as harrowing memories of his violent and brutal origins melt into his waking life”.
Capone was eventually sentenced to 11 years in prison for tax evasion. Upon arriving at the Atlanta US penitentiary, he was diagnosed with syphilis and gonorrhea. Paroled after eight years, Capone’s later life was marred by illness – his late-stage syphilis had reduced his mental faculties to that of a 12-year-old. He died of cardiac arrest in 1947. Capone is thought to have murdered at least 32 men during his life as the most notorious prohibition era villain.