On the 5th of August, Mo Abudu announced Ebony life’s partnership with Will Parker productions and Universal Pictures to develop a movie based on incarcerated Nigerian fraudster Ramon Abbas aka Hushpuppi.
The untitled project, based on Bloomberg’s article ‘The Fall of the Billionaire Gucci Master,’ is being described as an action thriller hybrid of Steven Spielberg’s ‘Catch Me If You Can‘ and Bryan Singer’s ‘The Usual Suspects.’
Sharing the news on her Instagram page, she wrote, “Ebony life is uniquely positioned to ensure the depth and authenticity of this film. This is why we decided to partner with a major Hollywood producer like will parker productions…we understand the environment of poverty and deprivation that breeds high talented and fundamentally flawed characters, and WPP knows how to create stories with a great appeal.”
This news has been met with mixed reactions:
How authentic would the movie be?
Certain Nigerians have questioned the authenticity of the movie. Would the movie be based on proper findings or just random speculations and stereotypes?
A story can easily be exaggerated to sound more appealing and favourable to a group of people. Hence, the curiosity in the mind of Nigerians.
What exactly does the movie stand to teach?
Some Nigerians are quite bothered that the movie might pass a wrong message as it might end up immortalizing Hushpuppi who has committed a huge crime.
However, others have debunked this saying; it would rather pass a strong message to the younger ones not to acquire fraudulent sources of income as it mostly doesn’t end well.
Reacting to the concerns, Mo Abudu put out another post explaining that her decision to tell this story saying, “Firstly, there are many lessons to be learnt from good and bad stories. Secondly, if we do not tell this story, someone else will and to ensure that this story is told with authenticity, a Nigerian storyteller with our pedigree needs to be involved. Too often, these types of characters are one-dimensional and feed into the worst stereotypes.
Hushpuppi’s story is based on a real person whose story is already partly known to the world but the film gives us a real chance to tell a cautionary tale about a character formed by his environment and life choices. The films of Martin Scorsese are a great example of a filmmaker telling richly layered stories of criminal characters from his heritage that we’ve all grown to love, without ever creating the impression that all Italian-Americans are members of the mafia. Needless to say, all Nigerians are not 419 scam artists.”
Would the government meddle in the affairs of the movie?
Due to recent implications in the ongoing fraud case, some people are quite concerned that the government might interfere in the activities that concern the production of the movie in other to protect important personalities.
Can the full story be developed?
Some people have suggested they wait till Hushpuppi is sentenced so a complete dialogue can be developed. Nevertheless, others have opined that since he has been convicted of the crime and is just awaiting a sentence, they can go ahead with the production.
Amidst various critics, this movie might turn out to be a classic like Escobar, the movie about drug cartel owner Pablo Escobar and the documentary on the fall of El Chapo. We honestly can’t wait to see how this story evolves.