Will Smith and his fellow producers from The Pursuit of Happyness and Seven Pounds have cast Matthew McConaughey (Interstellar) as the lead in their project The Billionaire’s Vinegar, Deadline reports. The project has been in development since 2008, when the Escape Artists production team obtained movie rights to Benjamin Wallace’s titular novel prior to its publication.
The true story centers on an auctioned wine cache that included bottles supposedly once owned by Thomas Jefferson. After an auction, the bottles were bought by billionaire Bill Koch. After speculation about the bottles’ authenticity arose, Koch reportedly spent around $1 million on a private investigation and subsequently sued wine dealer Hardy Rodenstock, who had brought the bottles to auction.
The book and movie title, The Billionaire’s Vinegar, comes from the idea that wine left unopened will eventually go bad, and collectors frequently spend outrageous amounts of money on a product that they never open or drink.
With the Oscar-winning McConaughey now attached along with the established producing team, the film has taken an important step towards moving from development to production. 3:10 to Yuma writers Michael Brandt and Derek Haas have already adapted the script. Now all that needs filling is the director’s chair and the remaining cast.
McConaughey’s upcoming schedule includes finishing his shoot on the Civil War Drama The Free State of Jones, and his voice-work for the Focus Features animated film Kubo and the Two Strings. He is also attached to the Steven Gaghan-directed (Syriana) drama Gold.
Plot details haven’t yet been released, but if we were betting we’d say McConaughey’s likely to be playing some version of Rodenstock, either trying to perpetrate a con or prove his honesty. Alternatively, it’s easy to see a story crafted around Koch’s hired investigator. In either case, we’re saying its unlikely (though not impossible) that McConaughey plays Koch himself: