Reader poll Antivirus pioneer John McAfee, who found himself at the centre of Central America's hottest manhunt in recent history, has sold the exclusive film rights to his life story.
McAfee was named by police as a "person of interest" but not a suspect following the murder of his neighbour Gregory Faull in Belize in November. McAfee went on the run with his 20-year-old girlfriend for three weeks before crossing the border to Guatemala. He was detained by the authorities soon after entry and is fighting against deportation to Belize.
"[McAfee] trusts that we will honour his life story in an honest and truthful manner," Brian Fitzgerald, cofounder of Impact Future Media that snapped up the film deal, told The Hollywood Reporter.
Impact Future Media (IFM) is now hunting for investors and production partners for the project, preliminary titled Running in the Background: The True Story of John McAfee. The producers obtained signed exclusive intellectual property rights to McAfee's story last week, around the time he was planning his flight from Belize to Guatemala.
The Montreal-based biz hopes to spread the software mogul's tale across a range of media including film, print, TV and multimedia. There's no word on any video games, which would seem to be a logical extension of the McAfee franchise given his previous fondness for the dangerous sport of "aerotrekking".
The production house also has a deal with Chad Essley, a cartoonist and friend of McAfee who is writing a graphic novel about the bearded thrillseeker. Essley also maintains McAfee's official blog, whoismcafee.com.
"My most heartfelt thank you goes to Impact Future Media and Cartoon Monkey Studio," McAfee said in a statement issued by IFM on Monday. "Their dedication to the truth is very uncommon in the world we live in today. I am now, and will always be, grateful to their organisations."
What's needed to make a perfect McAfee movie?
If The Hobbit can be stretched into three films then McAfee's recent escapades alone provide ample material for five films.
McAfee's antics while on the lam included burying his dogs after they were allegedly poisoned by police officers; sleeping on lice-infested beds; donning various disguises including blacking up with boot polish and sticking a tampon up his nose to disguise himself as a Guatemalan trinket salesman; and sending a look-alike over the Mexican border with a North Korean passport as a diversionary tactic while he slipped over the border to Guatemala.
Other plot elements ought to include his allegations of widespread corruption among politicians and police as well as his denials of suffering from drug abuse and paranoia. Another interesting tale involves reports over the weekend that he suffered a mild heart attack whereas in reality he banged his head on a wall after passing out due to dehydration and chain smoking.
Another twist in the plot came when McAfee's location was carelessly exposed when a Vice magazine journalist took the millionaire's photo after he crossed the border into Guatemala and uploaded the image to the web complete with position coordinates in the file's metadata.
This kind of material practically writes itself, making a screenplay writer somewhat redundant, but that still leaves the problem of casting for film and finding a director.
David Cronenberg (Naked Lunch), Bruce Robinson (Withnail and I, The Rum Diary), Terry Gilliam (Brazil) and David Fincher (Fight Club) would all be excellent choices for director - assuming the budget stretches that far. Either Javier Bardem or Morgan Freeman could play the police chief searching for McAfee.
We'd like to see a cameo for Rob Rosenberger, a long-term critic who accused McAfee of embellishing security problems, particularly the impact of the Michelangelo virus in the early 1990s.
El Reg's security desk has drawn up a list of potential actors for the key role of McAfee himself. We invite readers to vote on our suggestions or make nominations of their own in the comments below. ®