The 1MDB corruption scandal remains unresolved and one of the biggest cases of fraud in history. Now, House Of Cards creator Beau Willimon and his producing partner Jordan Tappis are developing and producing a series based on Billion Dollar Whale: The Man Who Fooled Wall Street, Hollywood, And The World, the bestselling non-fiction book about the 1MDB scandal.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, screenwriter David Henry Hwang, a three-time Pulitzer finalist and playwright, will write and executive produce the project. They are also working together with SK Global, the co-financiers of Warner Bros.’ Crazy Rich Asians franchise.
Written by award-winning Wall Street Journal reporters Tom Wright and Bradley Hope and published in 2018 by Hachette Books, Billion Dollar Whale features an in-depth account of the 1MDB-laundering scandal which exposes a lot of dirty corruption amongst the wealthy and famous. The book focuses on the scandal’s alleged mastermind, who is now the international fugitive named Jho Low, and his adventures in Hollywood (financing Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf Of Wall Street and being friends with Leonardo DiCaprio) and Wall Street (making Goldman Sachs millions while defrauding investors).
The 1MDB case remains under investigation by authorities in Malaysia, Singapore, Luxembourg, Switzerland, and the U.S. Department of Justice. The amount of money involved is estimated at US$5 billion. The book has since become a New York Times bestseller, having sold more than half a million copies internationally, including over one hundred thousand copies in Asia where it remains a bestseller.
SK Global’s John Penotti, Charlie Corwin and Marcy Ross will serve as executive producers alongside Willimon and Tappis on the series. Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh will also be a producer.
In a statement, Willimon and Tappis said:
“At Westward we are drawn to stories that reflect the complexity of the times we live in, centering on enigmatic and surprising characters. We’re also drawn to developing innovative ways to produce work in a quickly shifting entertainment landscape.
With David Henry Hwang at the helm, and SK Global at our side, this project allows us to do both. It’s hard to overstate the cultural impact of this story in Asia and around the world. It’s both a tale of financial greed and deceit, and a darkly comedic social satire.”
However, it’s unclear on which network or streaming platform this series will premiere on. None of the cast has been announced, so it will likely be a while before we’re getting a definitive release date for this one.