Is there ever a bad time for a new Mafia movie? How about a cocaine-fueled tale of drug trafficking, or perhaps a movie about a secret government informant? What would you say to a combination of all three, based on a true story and with Mark Wahlberg playing the lead? If all of that sounds very inviting, then it’s likely that American Desperado is a movie that you’ve already heard about.
If American Desperado doesn’t sound familiar, Cocaine Cowboys might. That was the name of the original 2006 documentary upon which the new film, which Wahlberg is co-producing as well as starring in, is partially based. The name change reflects the recently-published memoirs of one of the main subjects of Cocaine Cowboys: criminal and government informant Jon Roberts, who told his version of events in a book called “American Desperado: My Life — From Mafia Soldier To Cocaine Cowboy To Secret Government Asset.”
William Monahan (The Departed) was recruited earlier this year to rewrite the script originally penned by Evan Wright, who co-wrote Roberts’ memoirs. Monahan was said to be drawing inspiration directly from the book, rather than from the original documentary, so it’s likely that there will be certain elements within the plot of American Desperado that were not in Cocaine Cowboys. The film is being produced through Peter Berg’s production company Film 44, and Deadline has now confirmed that Berg will direct the film as well – and that Monahan has completed the new draft of the script.
This will mark the second time that Wahlberg and Berg have collaborated as star and director, respectively. Their first project, a true story drama about Navy SEALs called Lone Survivor, has been described as “an unapologetically patriotic film that honors and pays homage to an incredible group of badass guys.” Coming off the back of that, it will probably be a refreshing change of pace to make a film about some gloriously despicable characters engaging in a very dirty business.
Berg also has a fairly solid list of directing credits behind him already. His most recent release was the 2012 box office bomb Battleship (the failure of which led to everyone and their little sister making “someone sunk their Battleship” jokes), but prior to that he directed the entertaining worn-out superhero movie Hancock and the critically-acclaimed football drama Friday Night Lights.
We’ll have to wait until December to see Lone Survivor and get an idea of how well Wahlberg and Berg work as a team, but there’s already a lot to look forward to in American Desperado. Being set in Miami, Florida in the 1970s and 1980s, it really has no excuse not to have a great soundtrack full of songs from the period, and Wahlberg has proven himself many times over to be an adept lead for action movies.
Which Mark Wahlberg and Peter Berg team-up are you looking forward to the most: Lone Survivor or American Desperado?
American Desperado doesn’t have a release date yet, but Lone Survivor is out in theaters on December 27th.