It’s the aftermath of the GameStop saga all over again. The latest news stemming from the crypto exchange FTX’s colossal downfall — and the massive legal cloud that now hangs over CEO Sam Bankman-Fried — is that Apple is close to a deal for the rights to Michael Lewis’ forthcoming book about the whole messy affair.
The iPhone maker is rumored to be looking at a seven-figure deal to adapt the book into a movie for Apple TV Plus, one of several film and documentary projects in the works right now about FTX, as it also faces nonstop news coverage, lawsuits, and investigations. By my count, there are at least four such FTX-related film projects in some stage of development at the moment, similar to the mad scramble to release films and documentaries unpacking the Reddit-driven GameStop stock story from 2021.
FTX news today: A potential Apple TV Plus movie
Lewis — the author of Moneyball and The Big Short — is a financial journalist and one-time bond salesman who embedded himself with Bankman-Fried for months as he wrote his book. Whether or not he saw anything untoward himself is another story altogether.
Maybe, for example, Lewis came face-to-face with or heard about evidence of misdeeds but chose to keep back the particulars for his book. Or maybe he saw absolutely nothing at all, which would seem to call into question Lewis’ bona fides and whether he was simply embarking on corporate portraiture here.
Either way, one Twitter user posting about the news referenced the first journalist to really question the Enron story: “Don’t give a f–k about Michael Lewis, have Bethany McLean tell the FTX story.”
Apple’s streamer already has at least one title along these same lines. It’s The Big Conn, a sort of real-life Better Call Saul-story story about a small-town lawyer named Eric C. Conn (yes, that’s his actual name), who was accused of defrauding the government out of millions of dollars.
Other film projects and FTX developments
Separate from whatever FTX project Apple decides to move forward with, there is also an adaptation of a New York magazine article about FTX’s collapse in the works from writer-director Graham Moore (the filmmaker behind The Imitation Game). At least two documentaries are also coming, one from a Vice Media partnership with The Information.
In terms of other FTX news and developments, the exchange is now a target of at least one lawsuit accusing it of being essentially a Ponzi scheme. Federal investigations from the US Dept. of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission are also looking into what happened, and a bankruptcy proceeding has also revealed shocking new details about what transpired behind the scenes.
For example, Reuters reports that Sam Bankman-Fried’s parents and senior FTX executives bought at least 19 properties worth nearly $121 million in the Bahamas, where FTX set up its headquarters, official property records show.
An attorney this week also told a bankruptcy judge that the exchange was run as a “personal fiefdom” of Bankman-Fried.