In late September, the car manufacturing giant Volkswagen was caught by the Environmental Protection Agency for violating the Clean Air Act. The story, which only broke a month ago, is now set to become a feature film, according to Variety.
Volkswagen used what is known as a “defeat device” in their vehicles during emission testing in order to circumvent EPA regulations in over 11 million cars. The device was programmed to function only in laboratory tests. According to USA Today, the emissions of diesel engine cars from 2009 to 2015 were up to 40 times higher than federal regulations allow. The aftermath of the scandal led to the company’s stock value plunging. In addition to this, CEO Martin Wintherkorn resigned and other top executives were suspended. In an effort to remedy the issue, Volkswagen intends to spend over $7.3 billion to refit vehicles that used the defeat device. The German automaker also owns Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini and Porsche.
In what has been a whirlwind of information coming out of what some call “Dieselgate,” Paramount Pictures has bought the rights to an upcoming book by Jack Ewing. Ewing, who has not yet written the book, made a deal with W.W. Norton & Company in early October for an undisclosed six figure amount according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The company will now be further humiliated when the soon-to-be book becomes a film. Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company Appian Way has joined in with Paramount to buy the rights. While the production companies have yet to attach a director or actors to the film, this information will likely come about following the publishing of the book that the intended movie will adapt.
The film is coming on the heels of other upcoming features that also tackle modern day scandals. “The Big Short,” set to be released in December, stars Brad Pitt and Christian Bale and details the collapse of the housing market. Mark Wahlberg is starring in the 2016 film “Deepwater Horizon” about the 2010 BP oil spill, the worst in United States history. The failure of major corporations and institutions being made into film is not unusual, going back to 2011’s “Margin Call,” which is about the United States’ financial crisis and demonstrates the ongoing trend.
The dramatic unfolding of events that led to the denouncement of Volkswagen lends itself to being made into a film, but the speed at which the news will be turned around into a book, and shortly after, a film, is unprecedented.