Project Brazen today announced they have entered a deal with Peter Chiarelli (Crazy Rich Asians) to write a television adaptation chronicling the decades-long Fat Leonard U.S. Navy scandal, one of the military’s largest national security breaches.
The script will be based on Project Brazen’s popular podcast “Fat Leonard” which featured Leonard Glenn Francis, a corrupt foreign contractor, who spoke exclusively for the first time about stealing tens of millions of dollars through deals with the U.S. Navy in exchange for cash bribes, escorts, and luxury items. The adaptation marks the first television co-production for Project Brazen and will follow an actively developing story with the podcast playing a major part around the current trials of five Navy officers involved with Francis.
Also read: ‘I Had The US Navy By The B*lls’ Says Fat Leonard In New Podcast Series
In a joint statement, SK Global Co-CEO’s John Penotti, Charlie Corwin, and President of Television Marcy Ross add, “Like story divining rods, our friends Tom and Bradley have uncovered yet another thrilling true story – a tale of epic international intrigue that is decidedly stranger than fiction! Building on our adaptation of their bestselling book Billion Dollar Whale, the SK Global team could not be more excited to work here with Project Brazen on their first co-production.”
“We’re thrilled Pete’s bringing his trademark wit to the Fat Leonard story, an absurd tale of military adventurism and misogyny that could only have occurred in the crazy period after 9/11. This TV series is at the heart of Project Brazen’s mission to deliver unbelievable true stories to the widest audience,” said Wright and Hope.
Project Brazen’s “Fat Leonard” revealed a Navy cover-up of the case, with the prosecution
involving nearly 30 officers but sparing top admirals whom Francis claims took gifts and favors.
The podcast also featured other voices, including prominent women who share their stories of
misogyny and sexual abuse in the military. With many officials who protected Francis for years escaping justice, he was ultimately exposed by a Navy spouse whose family had been destroyed by his scam. This month, during the federal trial of five Navy officers charged in the case, defense counsel played portions of interview tapes from “Fat Leonard,” attempting to discredit Francis. The government subsequently pulled him as a witness due to the podcast as he awaits sentencing.
Also read: The Navy’s Crash Course on Accountability by James Stavridis
“Fat Leonard was a world-class conman who stole from the U.S. Navy for more than a decade. He thought he was untouchable and above the law. I’m thrilled to tell the story of the small group of brave men and women who managed to con this conman and expose his nasty conspiracy,” added Chiarelli who started his film and television career working as a producer and studio executive. Most recently he wrote Crazy Rich Asians 2 and is currently writing another Warner Brothers project. He previously wrote the hit films Crazy Rich Asians (2018) and The Proposal (2009).
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