EXCLUSIVE: Mark Wahlberg, Stephen Levinson and Archie’s production company Gips Unrealistic Ideas team up with producer Van Echeverri for a feature-length documentary about the FBI’s busting of USC football player-turned-drug kingpin Owen Hanson .
“Unrealistic Ideas has a strong track record in the true crime business, and Owen Hanson’s story jumped out at us,” said Unrealistic Ideas President/Partner Gips. “He’s a working-class guy who worked hard to get into USC and then used the business skills he learned while studying there to create a global drug empire. We’re looking for to explore how it happened and how it all fell apart.
Hanson began selling recreational drugs and steroids to his college teammates in the early 2000s, eventually building a violent empire that operated in the United States, Central and South America, and Australia. Arrested in September 2015 and sentenced in late 2017 to more than 21 years in federal prison, Hanson was ordered to pay a $5 million criminal forfeiture, which included $100,000 in gold coins, luxury vehicles, jewelry, homes holiday home, a sailboat and interests in several businesses.
The FBI teamed up with the New South Wales Police in Australia to catch Hanson and uncovered an illegal sports gambling, money laundering and drug trafficking business involving thousands of kilograms of illegal narcotics that leads to Hanson. More than 21 of his associates were also arrested.
The FBI used an array of sophisticated investigative techniques, court-authorized electronic surveillance, informants and undercover agents to bring down Hanson. One of the key dominoes leading to his demise was professional gambler-turned-FBI source RJ Cipriani aka Robin Hood 702, who was tasked by Hanson with betting $2.5 million in Baron de Drugs. Robin Hood 702 lost the money at blackjack, prompting Hanson to issue death threats, including sending Cipriani photos of his late mother’s defaced headstone, photos of his wife with her personal information and a video showing beheadings.
Among the documentary fare of Wahlberg’s unrealistic ideas are the HBO docuseries, McMillion$who received five Emmy nominations, IDA nominated Run this town and Special Discovery The Lost Lincoln.
Recently, Deadline told you exclusively that Unrealistic Ideas took the rights to best-selling author Mark Shaw’s non-fiction book, Collateral Damage: The Mysterious Deaths of Marilyn Monroe, Dorothy Kilgallen, and Their Connections to Robert Kennedy and the JFK Assassination with plans to develop the IP into a feature-length documentary.
Echeverri’s docuseries credits include See No Evil, An Unexpected Killer, Real Dating Stories, among others.
Wahlberg is replaced by WME, Leverage Management and Sloane, Offer, Weber & Dern.