Mark Wahlberg and Peter Berg must have had fun working together on “Lone Survivor,” because it looks like they’re teaming up again. Deadline says that the duo will respectively star in and direct “American Desperado,” William Monahan’s new script based on the book “American Desperado: My Life — From Mafia Soldier To Cocaine Cowboy To Secret Government Asset” by Jon Roberts. Roberts was featured in the documentary “Cocaine Cowboys,” about the cocaine business in Miami in the 1980s, and this is the latest in what seems to have been many attempts to turn his story into a feature film.
Here’s what Amazon says about the book:
In 2008 veteran journalist Evan Wright, acclaimed for his New York Times bestselling book Generation Kill and co-writer of the Emmy-winning HBO series it spawned, began a series of conversations with super-criminal Jon Roberts, star of the fabulously successful documentary Cocaine Cowboys. Those conversations would last three years, during which time Wright came to realize that Roberts was much more than the de-facto “transportation chief” of the Medellin Cartel during the 1980s, much more than a facilitator of a national drug epidemic. As Wright’s tape recorder whirred and Roberts unburdened himself of hundreds of jaw-dropping tales, it became clear that perhaps no one in history had broken so many laws with such willful abandon.
Roberts, in fact, seemed to be a prodigy of criminality – but one with a remarkable self-awareness and a fierce desire to protect his son from following the same path.
American Desperado is Roberts’ no-holds-barred account of being born into Mafia royalty, witnessing his first murder at the age of seven, becoming a hunter-assassin in Vietnam, returning to New York to become — at age 22 — one of the city’s leading nightclub impresarios, then journeying to Miami where in a few short years he would rise to become the Medellin Cartel’s most effective smuggler.
But that’s just half the tale.
The roster of Roberts’ friends and acquaintances reads like a Who’s Who of the latter half of the 20th century and includes everyone from Jimi Hendrix, Richard Pryor, and O.J. Simpson to Carlo Gambino, Meyer Lansky, and Manuel Noriega.
Nothing if not colorful, Roberts surrounded himself with beautiful women, drove his souped-up street car at a top speed of 180 miles per hour, shared his bed with a 200-pound cougar, and employed a 6”6” professional wrestler called “The Thing” as his bodyguard. Ultimately, Roberts became so powerful that he attracted the attention of the Republican Party’s leadership, was wooed by them, and even was co-opted by the CIA for which he carried out its secret agenda.
So Roberts was a busy guy. Maybe this should be a miniseries rather than just a movie.
Wahlberg and Berg’s “Lone Survivor” is set for a January 2014 release date. Wahlberg is currently working on the next “Transformers” movie, and also is booked for “Ted 2.”