EXCLUSIVE: Sunset Lane Media has pre-emptively optioned William Neuman’s non-fiction book Things Are Never So Bad That They Can’t Get Worse: Inside the Collapse of Venezuela which they studio plans to develop into a TV series.
The St Martin’s Press book explores the rich backdrop of a country in turmoil; once a gem of South America with its rich natural resources, it is now far from it. David Beaubaire, CEO & Founder of Sunset Lane Media, will be producing with Kip Azzoni who first approached him about the project.
Said Neuman, “I’m excited to work with David and Kip on a project that will shine a light on the tragic crisis in Venezuela and the suffering of ordinary people there. In my book, I show the human cost as the country went from a bonanza of oil riches to crushing poverty, thanks to populist politics, corruption, and catastrophic mismanagement. Venezuela is a cautionary tale for showing how extreme political polarization can be used to gain and hold onto power, while tearing down the institutions that make democracy work.”
David Vigliano of AGI Vigilano Literary negotiated the deal on behalf of the author.
“When I picked up Neuman’s book, I knew that his stories and backdrop would bring tremendous color, context, and depth to an important story yet to be told on screen. He captures the incongruence of such high highs and low lows, uber wealth and abject poverty, the glorious and the grotesque, as well as the moral code those who blow that bridge to pave their own roads in the gold, they rob from the country they call home,” said Azzoni.
“I am so thrilled Kip brought this amazing project to my attention and for William to entrust us with his extraordinary reporting. Both recount countless unbelievable stories and paint an incredibly vivid picture of a country and its people that I have no doubt will resonate widely and have audiences riveted,” said Beaubaire.
Author, producer and documentarian Azzoni wrote her first book, Blood In the Water: America’s Assault on Innovation and is finishing up her most recent documentary Veteran which tells the intimate stories of a group of men and women and their families as they navigate the profound passage from service to civilian life following their tours of duty and finding returning home the hardest part of their journey.
Neuman is an author and journalist who reported for The New York Times for more than fifteen years. He served as the Times Andes Region bureau chief from 2012 to 2016 while based in Caracas, Venezuela. He previously reported for the New York Post, and his work has also been featured by the San Francisco Chronicle, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and The Independent, among others.
Beaubaire recently produced the Netflix hit Fatherhood with Kevin Hart and the upcoming Netflix series The Night Agent. The studio exec vet had produced a number of prolific movies including The Big Short, Flight, All the Money in the World, Baby Driver, Dreamgirls and Up In the Air among many others.