Coen Brothers to Script ‘Dark Web’ Thriller at Fox
In addition to writing and directing their own films, Joel and Ethan Coen have been known to provide scripts for other directors, like Angelina Jolie (Unbroken) and Steven Spielberg (Bridge of Spies). Granted, it’s always better when the duo directs their own material, but a new Coen Brothers project is a new Coen Brothers project, and their latest screenplay assignment is no exception.
Per THR, Fox has tapped the Coens to write a screenplay for Dark Web, based on “The Rise and Fall of Silk Road,” Wired magazine’s two-part investigative piece from 2013. The film adaptation is described as an internet thriller, and tells the story of Ross William Ulbricht, who was famously known by the online handle Dread Pirate Roberts. At just 29, the ambitious Ulbricht launched The Silk Road, a hidden and highly illegal online bazaar where users could buy and sell drugs using Bitcoin.
The idealistic Austin native quickly transformed himself into a vengeful drug kingpin, and was ultimately taken down by an IRS agent working with the DEA. Ulbricht was apprehended in 2013 and hit with a litany of charges, including money laundering, drug trafficking and “procuring murder” — the last charge was eventually removed, but the remaining charges earned him a life imprisonment sentence.
With its tale of an unlikely criminal mastermind and its myriad twists (some darkly comedic), the Silk Road story has often been compared to the Coens’ classic Fargo. They’re not the first to take a crack at the script, however; Dennis Lehane (Shutter Island, The Drop) was originally hired to write the screenplay for Dark Web.
In addition to Fox’s Silk Road project, the Coens are also behind the screenplay for Suburbicon, an upcoming satirical thriller that George Clooney is directing based on a script the duo wrote over 10 years ago. Clooney has been attached to star in the film since 2005.