A film 20 years in the making, the rise and fall of Chippendales is about to come to the silver screen, with Dev Patel and Ben Stiller listed as some of its stars.
The true crime saga, based on Rodney Sheldon’s manuscript, surrounds the founding and expansion of the Chippendales nightclub and male strip show during the 1980s by Paul Snider, Bruce Nahin and immigrant Somen Banerjee.
Lion star Dev Patel is in talks to play Banerjee, the Bombay-born immigrant who turned an LA dive bar into a multimillion-dollar cultural zeitgeist sensation. Ben Stiller will play Nick DeNoia, an Emmy-winning producer of children’s shows who recruited the musclebound G-string clad dancers, choreographed their routines and ran a touring company of strippers.
Banerjee was later charged with having enlisted the aid of Ray Colon to help carry out a plot to kill Michael Fullington, a former Chippendales dancer and choreographer, and two other ex-Chippendales dancers, who Banerjee felt were competition to the Chippendales franchise.
He was also indicted for allegedly orchestrating the 1987 murder of DeNoia. DeNoia was shot in the face at his midtown Manhattan office. An unidentified assailant was hired by Banerjee and another man for an undisclosed sum, according to the indictment charging Banerjee with murder for hire.
It was also alleged that it was his intent to have Nahin also murdered.
He eventually pleaded guilty to attempted arson, racketeering, and murder for hire. He entered into a plea agreement that would have led to 26 years in prison, loss of his share of the Chippendales’ parent company (Nahin retaining his share), and most of his estate.
In the early morning of October 23, 1994, Banerjee was found dead in his cell, having hanged himself. Reports stated that while Banerjee was depressed, it was not thought he would take his own life.
Snider, on the other hand, was the estranged husband and manager of Playboy model Dorothy Stratten, whom he raped and murdered the day he killed himself.
Deadline reports: “The film aims to explore the perversion of the American dream theme, set in the “greed is good” ’80s cultural moment — replete with drugs and excess — that mirrored the rise of Chippendales.”
Chippendales will be produced by Permut Presentations’ David Permut, Bold’s Michel Litvak and Gary Michael Walters, and Red Hour’s Stiller and Nicky Weinstock.
“It is the Horatio Alger story gone horribly wrong,” said Bold’s Walters. “It is a true life Boogie Nights, a wild ride through the seamy underbelly where entertainment and criminality meet, during a period where the pendulum swung toward female sexuality.”
“I see this project as bringing back the dark side of the excesses of the 1980s with elements of Boogie Nights, American Hustle and Scarface,” Permut told Variety.
Permut, who received a best picture Academy Award nomination this year for Hacksaw Ridge after 16 years in development, began work on Chippendales two decades ago. Barry Sonnenfeld was attached as a director in the early stages with Tony Scott and David Michod on board at various points.
Whoever comes on board to direct, producers plan for the film to begin production next year.