‘Outlaws Inc’ film gets one of Hollywood’s hottest directors

 

Disney/Act of Valor helmer Scott Waugh has signed up to direct the Hollywood feature film of my first international book, Outlaws Inc.

 

Hollywood and disney director Scott Waugh is working on Matt Potter's film Outlaws Inc

 

Incredibly exciting news in Deadline magazine, as it’s been announced that the director of last year’s sleeper Navy SEAL hit Act of Valor, Scott Waugh, is to direct. The team at Thunder Road Pictures behind the Outlaws Inc. film has also announced that the film is also fully financed by Fundamental Films. Basil Iwonyk and Mark Gao are to produce.

 

Scott Waugh is one of Hollywood’s hottest, with Disney’s Need For Speed and Act Of Valor both doing the business. There are a few more developments, including some very exciting news on casting for Outlaws Inc., but I’m sworn to secrecy for the time being.

 

Watch this space…

Premiere: Official preview clip from ‘The Notorious Mr Bout’

 

There’s a great documentary feature film on arms smuggler Viktor Bout at Sundance 2014 this week.

 

I’m part of it, but don’t let that put you off – it’s by the team who made the award-winning Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer last year. There’s more detail below, but in the meantime, here’s the official trailer for The Notorious Mr Bout.

 

 

I’m available for comment or press purposes around the release of the film. Contact me through the comments here, or on Twitter where I’m @MattPotter. For film or TV work, contact Rebecca Watson at Valerie Hoskins Associates.

 

Film: Feature documentary ‘The Notorious Mr Bout’ to premiere at Sundance

[Update to this story 12/1/14: The Notorious Mr Bout has just been added to the BBC’s Storyville season for 2015/16.]

 

The Notorious Mr Bout, a feature-length documentary film on ‘Merchant of Death’ Viktor Bout – in which I appear and on which I consulted – is to premiere at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.

 

Matt Potter features in Maxim Pozdorovkin and Tony Gerber's Merchant of Death film about Viktor Bout

The Merchant of Death, behind bars in Thailand (Used by kind permission, from the film ‘The Notorious Mr Bout’)

 

 

The 90-minute documentary is produced and directed by Maxim Pozdorovkin and Tony Gerber, whose latest film on Pussy Riot won international acclaim and was banned in Russia. Its screening at Robert Redford’s Sundance Festival in Utah this January comes in advance of its international release and tour of European and American festivals.

 

The film follows the rise and fall of Viktor Bout – family man, polyglot, raconteur, and the world’s most notorious smuggler of illicit arms, currently serving time in a US jail – from Soviet military days to Africa, Afghanistan, through his arrest in Thailand for offering to supply arms to Colombia’s FARC rebels, to his conviction in a New York courtroom and beyond.

 

It’s exciting news here, and if you’re interested in organised crime, arms trafficking, the violent chaos of the Soviet breakup, modern terror tactics or the shadow world uncovered in Outlaws Inc, my guess is you’ll love it.

 

It promises to be a great film, and I’m making myself available for interview and comment both around the Sundance schedule and through the year’s releases. Just contact me via the comments, or on Twitter, where I’m @MattPotter.

 

 

WEEKEND FREEBIE: Stream a sample of the new Outlaws Inc. audiobook

 

Thanks to the lovely people at Audible.com in the States, you can stream an extract of the new Outlaws Inc. audiobook here, for a limited period.

 

The book is read – which, I suppose means I’m played – by Jeff Kafer, a Seattle-born voice actor and veteran narrator and voiceover artist. And he does a really great job with my mad sentences. I almost forgot it wasn’t me speaking with that West Coast drawl. I hope you enjoy it.

 

Stream by clicking the green ‘Play’ button here.

 

News: Film deal for Outlaws Inc.

 

Well, it’s happened. An 18-month film option on Outlaws Inc has been bought by a major Hollywood production company, Thunder Road Pictures. Thunder Road are the outfit behind big noises like The Expendables, Clash of the Titans (above) and Ben Affleck’s The Town, as well as the new Jeff Bridges/Julianne Moore blockbuster Seventh Son. Boss Basil Iwanyk is apparently Hollywood’s most bankable producer. So, er, blimey.

 

As things progress, I’ll be working on the project as Consultant Scriptwriter. So it’s all pretty exciting. And it’s thanks in large part to my agent, Humfrey Hunter, and film/TV rights agent, Rebecca Watson at Valerie Hoskins Associates. (See, I’m doing the Oscar Speech Thing already.) Rebecca is the lady who represents Fifty Shades Of Grey, so the studios seemed to take her calls for some reason.

 

Now, where will we get all the Russian planes for the movie, cheap? Oh hang on, I know just the people

 

New audiobook edition out now

Audible have just issued a new, unabridged audiobook of Outlaws Inc. It’s narrated by Seattle actor and voice artist Jeff Kafer, and while it’s potentially a little weird to have my voice suddenly become that of a West Coast American, let’s face it, it’s probably for the best. You know, all due apologies to Slough, Bucks and all that.

Russian arms trafficker Viktor Bout linked to UK horsemeat scandal… And we’re, like, totally shocked

Looks like someone’s finally catching on. This is the network my book is about:

“#Horsemeat firms linked to Russian arms dealer #ViktorBout” http://t.co/e4xTQnls.

Rebel militias, high street retail giants, Somali pirates, fashion brands, Peruvian drug lords, our own government, ready-meal makers, all depend on some of the same shady people, but we all get it cheap so don’t ask too many questions & act shocked when you’re rumbled.

Meanwhile, subcontracting is what makes the world go round, from the UN to arms dealers, blood diamonds to NGOs, and Afghan heroin to food processing. And if some of that gets mixed up on the way? There are enough weak links to mean it’s not your proble.

News: Reader’s Digest publishes ‘Outlaws Inc’ in 26 languages as its Autumn adventure read

International literary selection Reader’s Digest has published a condensed version of Outlaws Inc. in its Autumn edition… and brought its international detective story home.

 

The condensed extract is published in Norwegian, Swedish, Slovenian (a taster for the translation is here), Russian, French, Dutch, Hungarian, Finnish, Czech, Slovak, Polish, German, Italian, Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese, and a host of other languages. In the New Year, it will see publication in Thai, Mandarin, Cantonese and other Far Eastern languages, as well as for parts of Africa.

 

The extracts come with some incredible, atmospheric new illustrations inspired by the action, supplied by Bryan Christie Design of New York – that’s one of Bryan’s illustrations at the head of this post, and more of his work is here.

 

It’s a big moment for me. While Outlaws Inc. has been translated into several languages as a full book, having it read by people in some of the countries central to its investigative trail through the secret world of international arms smuggling – from the Far East to Russia itself – is an honour. I guess I hope some of its findings hit home in the heartland of the operations I followed, as they have elsewhere. It’s undeniably thrilling, even a little strange, seeing the story printed in Cyrillic. I sort of feel like I need to wish it luck in there.

 

But it’s more personal than that too. My grandma was a lifetime subscriber to Reader’s Digest‘s condensed selection of books, and it loomed large throughout my childhood. She was its biggest fan. I remember cutting my reading teeth on some of the non-fiction adventure stories in the copies she always had at her house. Jaws was one extract I read, back when it was new. There was another called The Sea Shall Not Have Them, too. I don’t remember much about it, but I remember the story had the same kind of outer darkness that hung over Mickey and the pilots I tracked. that In a way, I think that more than my writing the book – and perhaps more than any good it has (or hasn’t) done in the battle against global weapons smuggling – I think this would have been the seal of approval that made her proud.

 

So thanks, Reader’s Digest. And thanks, Grandma.

 

 

Life imitates ‘Outlaws Inc’, but with added cats: A flight to Afghanistan & a kitten called Il-76

 

From the “Now-that’s-what-I-call-a-literary-legacy” desk: this news, from Afghan pet rescue charity Nowzad, made my day. It seems a Russian-crewed Ilyushin-76 flight from the Gulf to Afghanistan was being unloaded in Kabul earlier this month when the crew discovered a half-starved feline stowaway. Taken in, first by the crew, then by Nowzad staff, the kitten was named Il-76 (after the plane on which it was discovered). The even better news is that it’s now living a new life with new ID in the USA… under the name of Mickey.

 

Mickey the kitten

 

I’m sure the real Mickey would have approved. Just this: If Outlaws Inc. sells not one more copy from here to Doomsday, I can now die a happy man.

News: A bit of Fry and Ronson… ‘Outlaws Inc.’ back up the WH Smith Bestseller chart

Short post this time, just to say thank you to everyone who helped to send Outlaws Inc. haring back up the bestseller chart. This was sent to me by motoring journo Will Dron, and I had to make sure he wasn’t messing with my head.

 

Nestled between Stephen Fry and Jon Ronson is somewhere I never even thought I’d end up (not to mention underneath Caitlin Moran). It feels great, if a bit like that dream you have where you’re at a party full of witty, hyper-intelligent people and you try and be as witty as them, but it all comes out garbled, then suddenly your trousers keep coming off, and the whole school is totally staring. No? Maybe that was just me then.

 

In any case, I stay true to my promise: Thank you for buying Outlaws Inc., and I hope you enjoy it. If I meet you, just identify yourself, and the drinks are on me.