Ben Mezrich’s Once Upon a Time in Russia is Optioned by Warner Bros.
Warner Bros. along with RatPac Entertainment have optioned Once Upon a Time in Russia: The Rise of the Oligarchs — A True Story of Ambition, Wealth, Betrayal, and Murder by Ben Mezrich.
The book which is set for a June 4th release is based on the true story of the “Godfather of the Kremlin,” Boris Berezovsky.
The idea for the book came from Brett Ratner, who is also producing, who has personal relations with several Russian oligarchs. He then pitched it to Mezrich.
Mezrich also wrote The Accidental Billionaires, which was adapted into the film The Social Network.
Once Upon a Time in Russia is the untold true story of the larger-than-life billionaire oligarchs who surfed the waves of privatization to reap riches after the fall of the Soviet regime: “Godfather of the Kremlin” Boris Berezovsky, a former mathematician whose first entrepreneurial venture was running an automobile reselling business, and Roman Abramovich, his dashing young protégé who built a multi-billion-dollar empire of oil and aluminium. Locked in a complex, uniquely Russian partnership, Berezovsky and Abramovich battled their way through the “Wild East” of Russia with Berezovsky acting as the younger man’s krysha- literally, his roof, his protector.
Written with the heart-stopping pacing of a thriller -but even more compelling because it is true – this story of amassing obscene wealth and power depicts a rarefied world seldom seen up close. Under Berezovsky’s krysha, Abramovich built one of Russia’s largest oil companies from the ground up and in exchange made cash deliveries – including 491 million dollars in just one year. But their relationship frayed when Berezovsky attacked President Vladimir Putin in the media – and had to flee to the UK. Abramovich continued to prosper.
Dead bodies trailed Berezovsky’s footsteps, and threats followed him to London, where an associate of his died painfully and famously of Polonium poisoning. Then Berezovsky himself was later found dead, declared a suicide.
Exclusively sourced, capturing a momentous period in recent world history, Once Upon a Time in Russia is at once personal and political, offering an unprecedented look into the wealth, corruption, and power behind what Graydon Carter called ‘the story of our age’.