Paramount Wins Auction for Cuban Mafia Book ‘The Corporation’ (Exclusive)

Benicio del Toro is attached to star and Leonardo DiCaprio will produce via Appian Way

Last Updated: April 7, 2016 @ 7:39 PM

Paramount has won a seven-figure bidding war for T.J. English’s nonfiction book about the Cuban mafia titled “The Corporation: An Epic Story of the Cuban American Underworld,” TheWrap has learned.

Oscar winner Benicio del Toro is attached to star and Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Davisson Killoran will produce for Appian Way along with Andrew Rona and Alex Heineman for The Picture Company.

Paramount beat Sony, Universal, MGM, Skydance and Warner Bros. for the red-hot book, which will be adapted by David Matthew (“Vinyl”) and published in winter 2017 by William Morrow.

The book centers on the Corporation’s founder, Jose Miguel Battle Sr., who died in 2007. Known as ‘El Padrino’ and ‘the Godfather,’ he was Fulgencio Batista’s bag man, bringing the Cuban dictator his cut from the gambling casinos when the Mafia ran Cuba. Battle escaped to the States, where he and other Cubans were trained by the CIA to invade the country in the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion.

Having saved the lives of 28 of his men, the Godfather came out of that debacle as a certified hero to many Cuban-Americans. The core of the gang was trained as a unit and together formed the Corporation. They started out running the popular numbers racket, known as “bolita,” but soon moved on to money laundering and murder.

Battle and his associates never gave up the dream of killing Castro and reclaiming Cuba; they became financiers of the anti-Castro movement by funding paramilitary groups such as the Contras, Omega 7 and Alpha 66. The Corporation would survive and grow until finally being brought down by a detective who pursued them relentlessly for over 15 years.

The story of the Corporation is not only the story of a unique criminal enterprise, but also the story of a generation and a culture defining itself through a brutal version of the American experience.

Paradigm sold the book rights and its clients Jaydee Freixas and Tony Gonzalez will also produce.

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