Seth Rogen and Michael Keaton are making a comedy about paranoid, drug-fueled antivirus billionaire John McAfee
He went from Silicon Valley to a gun-filled compound in Belize
There aren’t a lot of marquee names in antivirus software. Just three, really - John McAfee, Peter Norton and Eugene Kaspersky. Of those three, one is still working, one is mostly retired and dedicates the brunt of his time to philanthropic causes, and one spent a few years living in a compound in Belize with loads of guns before fleeing after being investigated for murder, getting detained in Guatemala, faking heart attacks in order to be sent back to the US and announcing a plan to run for President.
It’s hard to overstate the weirdness of the John McAfee story, but the trailer for the 2016 Showtime documentary Gringo: The Dangerous Life of John McAfee does a fine job of getting across the type of character we’re talking about: software success story turned jungle-dwelling polyamorist turned alleged sexual assaulter turned murder suspect.
Then there’s his announcement of his Presidential run, on a Libertarian platform primarily focused on cybersecurity and cryptocurrency, in which he plays a piano with machine guns casually lying on it and makes statements like, “Yes, I’ve taken drugs, more drugs than you and the entire audience can f*cking carry”.
According to Deadline, Michael Keaton and Seth Rogen will star in King Of The Jungle, based on a 2012 Wired article. Keaton will play McAfee, Rogen the Wired journalist. Given that the Wired story begins with McAfee playing Russian Roulette, there’s not a lot of work needed to make it totally nuts.
Johnny Depp was once connected to the McAfee part, but - possibly due to his own, let’s call it “unusual” (deeply problematic) behaviour, was replaced in the role. The script is by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, who have previously written character studies of similarly offbeat figures like the Andy Kaufman biopic Man On The Moon, The People Vs. Larry Flynt, Ed Wood and the upcoming Dolemite Is My Name.
They also wrote the first two Problem Child films so are no strangers to “person gets thwocked in the balls” type cinema, which could well be an element with Rogen on board. Bad Santa writers and Crazy Stupid Love directors John Requa and Glenn Ficarra will direct, although they are meant to be making a Joker/Harley Quinn film beforehand.
There seems no way this won’t be amazing: great talent involved, incredibly interesting subject matter and all the guns and drugs anyone could possibly want in a film. The only worry would be, is this one of those times when the truth is so mad that a movie can’t do it justice?