CEO of EbonyLife Studios Mo Abudu has announced her partnership with Hollywood’s Will Packer Productions to develop an untitled project based on the Bloomberg article “The Fall of the Billionaire Gucci Master” by Evan Ratliff, on the life of Ramon Olorunwa Abbas, popularly known as Hushpuppi.
Mo says she pitched the story to Will Packer and James Lopez in 2020 after the story broke the internet. They got on board and together, they won the rights to the Bloomberg article after a highly contested derby by several producers.
According to the media mogul, the globetrotting action thriller project will be a hybrid of “catch me if you can and usual suspects,” and is set up at Universal Pictures.
Some of Will Parker’s productions include “Girls Trip”, “Think Like a Man”, “Breaking In” and “Stomp the Yard“. He stated in the press release, ‘‘Ten months ago Mo pitched us a rich and entertaining concept steeped in Nigerian culture that can only be told with the help of her unique perspective. Together we knew Evan’s work was the definitive telling and the perfect anchor of this saga.’’
As stated by Mo Abudu in the same press release ‘‘EbonyLife is uniquely positioned to ensure the depth and authenticity of this film. This is why we needed to partner with a major Hollywood producer like Will Packer Productions – they are equally invested in telling stories that resonate with our audiences.
“We understand the environment of poverty and deprivation that breeds highly talented and fundamentally flawed characters like Huspuppi, and WPP knows how to create stories with global appeal.’’
Some of EbonyLife Studios productions include “The Wedding Party“, “Oloture“, “The Royal Hibiscus Hotel“, “Chief Daddy“, “Castle & Castle” “Your Excellency“, “Fifty The Series“, “The Governor“, “Sons of The Caliphate“, “On The Real” and many other amazing works.
Mo made the huge announcement on Instagram saying:
Hello beautiful people ❤️❤️I HAVE SOME BREAKING NEWS TO SHARE WITH YOU!!!
EbonyLife Studios is partnering with Will Packer Productions to develop an untitled project based on the Bloomberg article “The Fall of the Billionaire Gucci Master” by Evan Ratliff.
When the Hushpuppi story made headlines last year, I pitched the story idea to @willpowerpacker and James Lopez. They bought the idea and as headlined in this press release, together we won the rights to the Bloomberg article by Evan Ratliff mentioned above.
The rights were won after a highly contested derby by several producers and is now set up at Universal Pictures. The globetrotting action thriller project is said to be a hybrid of CATCH ME IF YOU CAN and USUAL SUSPECTS. It’s a dream come true to be working with Will Packer Productions and Universal Pictures on this project ???
Just as a refresher, Will Packer Productions and Universal Pictures need no introductions. WPP has released a number of blockbusters that include …… ‘‘Girls Trip”, “Think Like a Man Too”, “Ride Along”, “Think Like a Man”, “Takers”, “Obsessed”, “Breaking In” and “Stomp the Yard” and Universal Pictures with over 100 years in the business of movie-making in Hollywood, have produced some of the biggest titles in the world. I cannot contain my excitement ???
She later shared another post explaining that her decision to tell a story like this is because of the many lessons to be learned, and the need for a Nigerian storyteller to tell this story with authenticity before anyone else does. “All Nigerians are not 419 scam artists,” she adds.
Further to the announcement just made about our partnership with Will Packer Productions and Universal Pictures, some of you might ask, why do we choose to tell a story like this?
Firstly, there are many lessons to be learnt from good and bad stories.
Secondly if we do not tell this story, someone else will and to ensure that this story is told with authenticity, a Nigerian storyteller with our pedigree needs to be involved.
Too often, these types of characters are one-dimensional and feed into the worst stereotypes.
Hushpuppi’s story is based on a real person whose story is already partly known to the world but the film gives us a real chance to tell a cautionary tale about a character formed by his environment and life choices.
The films of Martin Scorsese are a great example of a filmmaker telling richly layered stories of criminal characters from his heritage that we’ve all grown to love, without ever creating the impression that all Italian-Americans are members of the mafia. Needless to say, all Nigerians are not 419 scam artists.
Announcing the partnership on social media, Will Parker wrote, “THIS. ONE. IS. HUGE!!!! ??? If you know you KNOW and if not… you might want to hurry up and find out ? ??”
We’re totally rooting for the EbonyLife team and we can’t wait to see the magic they create.
Photo Credit: @moabudu