The Burbank, California-based studio acquired the rights to “Houses of Deceit,” the story of Chuck Blazer, the FIFA executive turned whistleblower, said the people, who requested anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter.
Warner Bros. is banking on doing better than FIFA’s own film account of the global soccer federation’s history. “United Passions,” released in the U.S. on June 5, has taken in less than $200,000 in worldwide ticket sales, according to Rentrak Corp. data.
Affleck, Matt Damon and their production company, Pearl Street, are among the producers, according to the Hollywood Reporter, which reported on the plans earlier Friday.
The film is based on the writing of Ken Bensinger, who published an article last year for BuzzFeed titled “Mr. Ten Percent,” an account of Blazer and his role in the scandal.
Bensinger said in a June 25 tweet that Simon & Schuster would publish his coming book on the scandal, with the working title “Houses of Deceit.”
Blazer — a former FIFA executive committee member and one of global soccer’s most powerful figures — said in testimony made public this month that he accepted bribes to influence voting on the host country for the 2010 World Cup, among other schemes that included accepting bribes from sports-marketing companies and tax evasion.
The confession by the 70-year-old Blazer, who is battling cancer, was made in 2013 and revealed as part of U.S prosecutors’ corruption case against the sports federation.
In May, U.S. prosecutors unveiled charges against 14 people, including nine FIFA officials, detailing “rampant” corruption dating to 1991 in international soccer.
That forced FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who hasn’t been charged, to say he would step down. Blatter’s rise to power was documented in “United Passions,” which FIFA said it spent $27 million to have made. The film was panned by critics, with the Guardian newspaper calling it propaganda and “cinematic excrement.”
The dramatization charts the formation of the federation and ascension of three of its leaders, including Blatter.
Well-known actors take on the lead roles, including Gerard Depardieu. The film includes scenes that stand out in light of the bribery allegations, including one in which actor Tim Roth, as Blatter, reveals South Africa has been chosen to host the 2010 soccer World Cup.