Darryl Wharton-Rigby, an award-winning US writer is reportedly working on a script for a Hollywood thriller based on the story of the fiasco in the Black Stars camp at the World Cup that saw the government airlifting $3million to pay appearance fees to the players in a bis to ward off a boycott of their final group game.
Inside sources say the screenplay albeit having fictional characters and elements will still feature mainly on the events leading to and resulting from the infamous threat of boycott.
In the fictionalized version of the Black Stars debacle, the plot will show the $3m stolen after the courier is ambushed in spite of the helicopter escort and all. The protagonists then have fewer than 12 hours to recover the money or face the wrath of his employers (and presumably the Ghanaian footballers) and to avoid a major historical first of a team refusing to play at the World Cup. FIFA, the Governments of Ghana and Brazil, the Brazilian police outfit and of course the enraged Ghanaian players become interested parties in this saga.
“The world has soccer fever and Hollywood has caught it,” said Wharton-Rigby, a former staff writer for Homicide: Life on the Street, the celebrated Emmy-winning TV series from producer David Simon which predated the even more successful The Wire.
The screenplay has been optioned by US production company Bugeater, and is expected to be produced by Dan Mirvish and Barry Hennessey. Hennessy, an Emmy winner for reality TV show The Amazing Race, told the press, “I’ve shot extensively in both Ghana and Brazil, and this is a perfect project to capture the raw energy that both countries have to offer.”
Ghana and its president, John Dramani Mahama, became the subject of crude international jokes when he ordered $3million in hard currency to be flown to Brazil to pay appearance fees to the players after they threatened to go on strike, boycott training and their last group stages game against Portugal. Ghana subsequently lost the game 2-1 to Portugal; a result that sealed their exit from the mundial.
This is the second football related story to emerge from Brazil 2014 following news that Warner Bros also plans to capitalise on US World Cup fever to remake of cult classic Michael Caine tale ‘Escape to Victory.’