Michael London's Groundswell Productions is bringing the search engine's story to the big screen … but who could write it?
On the heels of the critical and commercial success of Sony's "The Social Network," Michael London's Groundswell Productions is revving up its planned adaptation of Ken Auletta's book "Googled: The End of the World as We Know It," having commenced searching for a writer, according to Forbes.
The film, due in 2012, will shine the spotlight on Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page — both radically different moguls than Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.
The project is expected to be sympathetic to the Google founders, who stayed true to their noble principles despite being surrounded by the temptations that come with wealth and power. The movie will likely focus on how the duo tried to hang onto their idealism as Google became a global phenomenon that changed the world, not to mention the creators themselves.
While the Google story may not be as filled with lies, greed and deceit like Zuckerberg's ascent, it's nonetheless a fairly compelling tale that should serve as a fascinating depiction of two people realizing their vision to change how we find and consume information.
As Groundswell begins hunting for someone to write the script, Deal Central endorses these five candidates to bring the search engine's story to the big screen.
1. Dustin Lance Black
The Oscar-winning screenwriter has worked with Groundswell before on Gus Van Sant's "Milk," which won Sean Penn an Oscar for his portrayal of homosexual politician Harvey Milk. Black also wrote Clint Eastwood's upcoming movie about former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, which has Leonardo DiCaprio attached to star. (Black's directorial debut, "What's Wrong With Virginia?" debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival, and judging from the harsh reviews it received, he'd be wise to stick to screenwriting.) Black is big on research, and the Google movie offers him a high-profile project that he can immerse himself in by hitting the history books and talking to people who were around Page and Brin before their search engine made them billionaires.
2. Scott Z. Burns
Burns also has a relationship with Groundswell, having written Steven Soderbergh's "The Informant!" Burns showed a flair for comedy with the script, and he'd likely bring a lighter touch to the Google story than other writers. He's working with Soderbergh again on the globe-trotting thriller "Contagion," which follows a virus that threatens to take over the world … kind of like Google. Burns also produced the Oscar-winning documentary "An Inconvenient Truth," which featured plenty of global warming facts that were probably found … by using Google. How meta!
3. Bennett Miller
The Oscar-nominated filmmaker is no stranger to true-life tales, as he wrote and directed "Capote," which won Philip Seymour Hoffman an Academy Award. The duo re-teams on the big screen adaptation of Michael Lewis' "Moneyball," which stars Brad Pitt as former Oakland A's GM Billy Beane. Miller might be Groundswell's best bet, especially if they're looking for a multi-hyphenate. That said, he may be too busy on the baseball diamond to find the time to write "The Search Engine," Deal Central's unofficial title for "Google: The Movie."
4. Billy Ray
This veteran screenwriter crafted the superb dramas "Shattered Glass" and "Breach" from the true stories of disgraced journalist Stephen Glass and traitorous FBI agent Robert Hanssen. Ray is an experienced thriller writer responsible for "Color of Night," "Suspect Zero," "Flightplan" and "State of Play," so he'd probably spice up the boring dot-com proceedings with a touch of paranoia to raise the stakes for the Google founders. Ray was recently hired to write the "24" movie, so maybe he could get in with Groundswell by having Jack Bauer use Google Maps while Chloe is on a much-needed bathroom break.
5. Danny Strong
Best known as an actor on "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and "Gilmore Girls," Strong earned critical acclaim for writing the HBO movie "Recount," which chronicled the drama-filled weeks following the 2000 U.S. presidential election and the subsequent recounts in Florida. In 2007, he was named one of Variety's 10 Screenwriters to Watch. Who knows, maybe he could even play Sergey Brin!