Over the past few years, the buzz surrounding true crime and people’s desire to get their non-fiction fix has led to directors falling over themselves to secure the next big non-fiction hit. Upcoming feature movies and TV shows we can look forward to in 2018/19 include real-life stories of extortion, mobsters, heists, and murder of the most sinister kind.
These are the following true crime stories you can expect everyone will be talking about…
Honorary Mention: Quentin Tarantino’s Charles Manson Project
Director Quentin Tarantino’s IMDB page has updated with the announcement he is set to write the screenplay for an ‘Untitled Manson Family Project’. Rumors surrounding the project have been around since July last year and now it’s official with a pending release date of August 9th, 2019. The date is significant as this was the same date the bodies of Sharon Tate and her friends were discovered at 10050 Cielo Drive in the summer of 1969…
Over his 25-year long career, Tarantino has directed just nine features – or eight if you count ‘Kill Bill: Volume ‘ and ‘Kill Bill: Volume 2’ as one film. True crime fans will be interested in knowing what the Academy Award winner will do with the shocking story of the cult murders. Brad Pitt, Jennifer Lawrence, and Margot Robbie have all been rumored to star.
12. Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
(Release date: TBD)
Zac Efron will star as Ted Bundy in a new film titled Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile. The film will chronicle the crimes of Bundy, from the perspective of his longtime girlfriend, Elizabeth Kloepfer (played by Lily Collins), who was in a relationship with the serial killer for seven years.
Bundy was a serial killer, kidnapper, rapist, and necrophile who was at large during the 1970s. He confessed to killing thirty victims between 1974 and 1978, although the real victim count is believed to be much higher. The film will be directed by Oscar-nominated Joe Berlinger who is best known for the Paradise Lost documentaries about the West Memphis Three.
11. Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G.
(Release date: February 27th on USA Network)
Twenty years ago, rappers Tupac and Notorious B.I.G. were both murdered in public within six months of each other. Both murders are still unsolved and now a new series is going to attempt to solve the cases. Straight Outta Compton actor Marcc Rose will take on the role of Tupac and newcomer Wavyy Jonez will star as Biggie.
Josh Duhamel also stars as the head of a new task force who will reopen the case. Executive producer Kyle Long told Entertainment Weekly, “We’ve got some fascinating stuff on screen that people don’t know about. It’s an unsolved murder, but I think the finale will give some closure to it all. It’s not a happy ending, I will tell you that.”
(Release date: January 24th on Paramount Network)
Waco is a six-part TV series based on the true events in 1993 when following a failed attempt by the FBI to raid a compound belonging to the group Branch Davidians who were suspected of weapons violations, causing a search and arrest warrant to be obtained by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF). The first raid resulted in the deaths of four government agents and six Branch Davidians.
Then there was a standoff between the two sides that lasted 51-days which became the longest gun battle in U.S. law enforcement history. The siege ended in a deadly fire that killed 76 people and one nine Branch Davidian members survived. The deceptive cult leader David Koresh is played by Taylor Kitsch and Michael Shannon will also star as FBI negotiator Gary Noesener.
9. The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story
(Release date: January 17th on FX)
Despite being condemned by the Versace family, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story will go ahead with it’s scheduled release. Following on from the success of The People vs O.J. Simpson, this series tells the story of Gianni Versace’s murder. The designer and founder of the House of Versace (played by Édgar Ramirez) was gunned down outside his mansion in Miami by serial killer Andrew Cunanan in 1997.
The story is based on the book Vulgar Favours by Vanity Fair writer Maureen Orth which tells the complete story of the murder and the aftermath. Versace’s sister Donatella Versace will be played by Penélope Cruz who fights to keep her brother’s legacy alive even after his death.
8. 15:17 Paris
(Release date: 9th February 2018 in Movie Theatres)
Clint Eastwood directs the real-life story of a thwarted terrorist attack on a French train in 2015 when three Americans en route to Paris – Spencer Stone, Anthony Sadler, and Alek Skarlatos – were able to successfully overpowered an Islamist terrorist who had opened fire.
Based on the book The 15:17 to Paris: The True Story of a Terrorist, a Train, and Three American Heroes by Dorothy Blyskal, Eastwood has cast as themselves in the film which will “begin during their childhood and show their friendship leading up to the moment that changed their lives”.
Eastwood said in a behind-the-scenes clip about casting the real-life heroes, “I had looked at a lot of actors, good actors, but I was looking at the guys and I kept looking at their faces and finally one day I just said, do you guys think you could play yourselves? And it turned out they (all) had a natural gift, and it also was a bit of a catharsis for them to go back and relive the moment.”
Honorary Mention: Devil In White City
The rumor that Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio will team up to tell the story of America’s first serial killer, Dr. Henry Howard Holmes, has been doing the rounds for over a year now. If the feature film goes ahead, this will be their sixth collaboration as they adapt Erik Larson’s bestselling book The Devil in the White City for the big screen.
DiCaprio will take on the role of Holmes, who was described by John Barlow Martin in his essay The Master of the Murder Castle as “Young, good-looking, glib, he mesmerized businessmen and captivated and seduced pretty young women, at least two of whom he married bigamously.” Scorsese told the Toronto Sun, “Right now, there is a script being worked on… One of the things that I had to stop for the past six months… was my meetings on that script. They want me to start again in January and see if we can find a way because it’s an extraordinary story.”
In 1893, Holmes built a hotel in Chicago which was nothing less than a giant, elaborate torture chamber, a death trap in which rooms contained a uniquely cruel and unusual way to die. He eventually confessed to 27 murders, although only nine were confirmed, yet the actual body count could have been up to 200.
(Release date: November 2018)
Based on the 2010 documentary Marwencol (above) about the fantasy world of Mark Hogancamp, who after being beaten into a brain-damaging coma by five men outside a bar, builds a 1/6th scale World War II-era town in his backyard. He names the town ‘Marwencol’ and the dolls represent his friends and family.
Now the documentary will be turned into a feature-length movie directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Steve Carell. The film will look at the physical and psychological scars that are left behind following a violent assault.
6. Entering Hades
(Release date: TBD)
Entering Hades is based on the true crime novel by John Leakes about serial killer Jack Unterweger who was a celebrated Austrian journalist and best-selling author. Unterweger had a double life – investigating murders by day and killing by night – the body count is believed to be 11 people.
Variety exclusively revealed that Michael Fassbender is in talks to take on the lead role. Gabriel and Daniel Hammond, CEO and Chief Creative Officer of Broad Green Pictures, revealed, “With Michael’s keen ability to bring captivating characters to the big screen, we are confident that ‘Entering Hades’ will be an entertaining thriller that draws a big audience.”
(Release date: TBD)
Ethan Hawke and Noomi Rapace are set to star in the film Stockholm according to reports by Deadline. Based on the true crime story of the 1973 bank heist and the hostage crisis in Stockholm, when the hostages bonded with their captors and turned against the authorities. The case prompted the psychological phenomenon now known as “Stockholm syndrome.”
Jonathan Kier, Sierra/Affinity’s President of International sales and distribution, told Variety, “‘Stockholm’ will offer moviegoers a raw glimpse into intense events that transpired over four decades ago coining a psychological condition that still intrigues the world today.”
4. Dirty Money
(Release date: January 26th on Netflix)
Netflix is soon to release their Dirty Money documentary which features six episodes detailing real-life stories of corporate scandal and corruption. The tagline promises an “up-close and personal view into untold stories of scandal and corruption in the world of business.”
Each episode focuses on a new issue including the Volkswagen vehicle recall, Trump Inc, HSBC’s ties with the Mexican drug cartel, Martin Shkreli’s price hike of life-saving drugs, payday loan scams. The series will have people screaming at their TV screens and questioning just how deep these scandals run. Definitely one to binge watch.
3. Killers of the Flower Moon
(Release date: TBD)
Martin Scorsese and Leonardo Di Caprio team up again for Killer of the Flower Moon which is currently in pre-production. The film tells the true story of the members of the wealthy Osage tribe of Oklahoma who after oil was discovered beneath their land, they rode in chauffeured cars, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe.
Then the tribe was murdered under mysterious circumstances in the 1920s sparking a major F.B.I. an investigation involving J. Edgar Hoover. What at first looked like coincidental killings came to fit a pattern of one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history.
2. The Irishman
(Release Date: 2019)
Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran was a labor union official who was accused of having links to the Bufalino crime family. Standing at 6ft 4″ tall, when he left the military service following World War II, he became a trucker but made extra money on the side by committing crimes – these crimes included ‘murder for hire.’
Mafia boss Russell Bufalino, the head of the Bufalino crime family, acted as Sheeran’s mentor throughout his life. Before his death in 2003, Sheeran confessed to killing Teamster leader Jimmy Hoffa. Author Charles Brandt detailed the confession in the book I Heard You Paint Houses. Martin Scorsese will direct with Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel and Al Pacino starring. De Niro will play the lead role and this will mark the ninth De Niro and Scorsese collaboration.
1. Mindhunter: Atlanta Child Murders
(Release date: TBD)
Set in the late 1970s, Mindhunter revolves around FBI agents Holden Ford (Jonathan Groff) and Bill Tench (Holt McCallany) and their early development of criminal psychology and criminal profiling. The show is based on the true crime book Mind Hunter: Inside The FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit written by Mark Olshaker and John E. Douglas.
Now with so much interest in the show, it has been announced that season 2 will begin filming next year. Director David Fincher told Billboard, “Next year we’re looking at the Atlanta child murders, so we’ll have a lot more African-American music which will be nice.” He added, “The music will evolve. It’s intended to support what’s happening with the show and for the show to evolve radically between seasons.”
The Atlanta child murders took place over a two-year period between 1979-1981. At least 28 African-American children, adolescents, and adults were killed. Serial killer Wayne Williams, an Atlanta native who was just 23-years -old at the time of the last murder, was arrested for and convicted of two of the adult murders and sentenced to two consecutive life terms.