The lengthy legal battle between Hulk Hogan and Gawker Media and its fallout can’t be overstated as it relates to modern media. Where to draw the lines on issues of privacy and journalistic standards seem to be constantly moving in an increasingly digital world. And for those in the media, there has certainly been a heightened concern now that it’s been proven that litigation can shut down an outlet through litigation, thanks to billionaire Peter Thiel financing Hogan’s suit against Gawker.
With “fake news” now unfortunately becoming a staple of society these days, it’s probably a question of “when,” not “if,” we see a similar story rise up in the coming years.
With so many layers to the Hogan-Thiel-Gawker controversy, it’s no surprise that there’s been interest on multiple levels in telling the various stories intertwined within it. A recent book entitled Conspiracy was published recently by Ryan Holiday. And it’s already been picked up by a production company looking to bring the story to movie and/or series form.
David A. Neuman’s Blackrock Productions has acquired rights to develop and produce Ryan Holiday’s Portfolio/Penguin book Conspiracy – Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker and the Anatomy of Intrigue which covers the tempestuous legal battle between pro-wrestler Hulk Hogan (Terry Bollea), Gawker Media and its founder Nick Denton, and Silicon Valley titan Peter Thiel.
Neuman is looking to develop the source material either for the big screen or limited TV series. “We’re very far along in exploring both options,” said Neuman. “The talent we’re talking to will help us tip the scale one way or another.”
Neuman’s company Blackrock Productions, Inc., focuses on developing, financing and producing content for all platforms. Prior to forming Blackrock, he was President of Programming at Current TV, Chief Programming Officer at CNN, former President of Walt Disney Television and President of Programming at Channel One. He began his career as a programming executive at NBC. He is represented by Jim Jackoway of Jackoway, Tyerman.
What’s interesting about this news is that the Hogan-Thiel-Gawker story has already been made into a documentary that was picked up by Netflix. It’s a hugely important story that certainly calls for wider attention and coverage given the shock value, celebrity aspect, and the widespread chilling effect throughout modern media.
It would make most sense for this story to follow the course of something like Netflix’s Making A Murderer or FX’s American Crime Story. With more time in series form, all of the different angles and motivations — from Hogan to Thiel to Gawker founder Nick Denton and author A.J. Daulerio — could be explored. And the larger effect on modern media could be examined as well.
It’s much more difficult to see this being made into a full-length feature film. There’s not really a redeeming narrative to tell in this Gawker tale, is there? Who are moviegoers that maybe aren’t familiar with this story supposed to empathize with or root for? The billionaire mogul focused on revenge against the gossip rag who outed him? The former pro wrestler who was exposed using racist language and then was ostracized from the company that made him a megastar? The author who flippantly joked under oath about what age he would draw the line at for publishing illicit tapes?
It’s a tale of destruction wherever you turn. Maybe that’s why it’s a story worth telling in whatever medium it ends up taking.