By Steven Zeitchik | Hollywood Reporter
A trio of prominent producers are teaming up for “Havana Nocturne,” a story of gangsters in 1950’s Cuba based on T.J. English’s New York Times bestseller.
Eric Eisner (“Hamlet 2”), Gil Adler (“Superman Returns”), and Shane McCarthy (untitled Robert Cooley mob drama at Paramount) are attached as producers on the project. Eisner’s L+E banner will produce and finance development, while Adler will produce via his Gilbert Adler Prods.
“Nocturne” centers on a group of mainly American gangsters in Batista’s Cuba, particularly Meyer Lansky, who run the freewheeling country’s casinos, nightclubs and other debaucherous businesses, and the rivalries that emerge as they lead the high life.
But the good times of their so-called “mobsters paradise” threaten to end when Castro’s rebels and the Cuban Revolution begin to gather steam. William Morrow published English’s book last year.
Matt Cirulnick has signed on to pen the script. The WME-repped scribe is also penning L+E’s English-language adaptation of Bernard Tavernier’s French thriller “Bait.”
Movies set in Cuba have tended to be more earnest political affairs like “The Motorcycle Diaries” or show a specific side of Cuban life, like Wim Wenders’ Oscar-nommed “The Buena Vista Social Club.” But this one, producers say, will aim to show the entirety of Cuban experience at the time, from the mobsters plotting in nightclubs to the revolutionaries plotting in the jungle.
“We really want to show Havana and Cuba as a character at a time that it’s booming,” Eisner said. “This is about mobsters who don’t only control a few business but try to control an entire country, and the tension that results when their plans go awry.”
The movie, Eisner said, will use politics as a backdrop but be less politically explicit than, say, the Sydney Pollack-Robert Redford collaboration “Havana.”
Adler is a veteran producer who in addition to the reboot of the Superman franchise counts “Valkyrie” and Warners’ comic-book actioner “Constantine” among his credits.
Eisner, best known for Sundance hit “Hamlet 2” also is developing a Jerry Garcia biopic with “Little Miss Sunshine” producers Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa as well as the undercover crime-adventure tale “The King of Sting.” McCarthy is producing the life story of mobster-turned-FBI-agent Robert Cooley for Paramount.
Producers say they have not yet decided on how hard to seek permission to shoot in Cuba. in the past 50 years, the government has been highly restrictive about allowing U.S. crews into the country. Consequently, many Cuba-set pictures are shot in other Caribbean nations such as Dominican Republic.