Indie pioneer, Spike Lee is gearing up for his next film, Gold, originally slated with Michael Mann at the helm. Lee’s remake of the beloved 2003 Korean action film, OldBoy, starring Josh Brolin and Samuel Jackson, is set to premiere Oct 11, 2013. Gold will be produced by Paul Haggis (The Next Three Days, In the Valley of Elah).
The script, penned by Patrick Massett and Jon Zinman (the duo responsible for Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Friday Night Lights), is based on the true story of the 1997 Bre-X Gold mining scandal. Bre-X was a mining company formed in Canada in 1988 which immediately began exploring in Busan, Indonesia. In 1993 the company bought the rights to a mining site in the headwaters of the Busang River in the jungle of Borneo. Michael Guzman, a high-living Canadian geologist, was hired to oversee the efforts and map the ore body.
It didn’t take long before Guzman began talking about a 200-million-ounce deposit. At $500.00 an ounce, that’s what gold fever dreams are made of.
Bigger mineral companies took notice, making offers to take over. The Indonesian government stepped in, with President Suharto and his ambitious family wanting a share in the coming profits. Suharto urged Bre-X to share the lode with the Indonesian people and an American company called Barrick, whose advisers included George W. Bush, Suharto’s daughter, and Brian Mulroney, the ex-prime minister of Canada.
A deal was announced on February 17, 1997, with the American firm Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold, running the mine. Bre-X would keep 45% ownership and Indonesia would share in the wealth. Bre-X stock prices skyrocketed as investors prepared for the gold rush ahead.
Freeport-McMoRan went to Borneo to start drilling. On March 26, 1997, they announced that there was no gold in Busnan. They had been duped. The next day, Bre-X stock lost all its value, and geologist Michael Guzman took a header out of his airborne helicopter in an apparent suicide.
Production is expected to begin by the year’s end.