Michael Keaton and Seth Rogen have been cast in King of the Jungle, a dark comedy based on the Wired article “John McAfee’s Last Stand,” Deadline reports. The in-depth feature story, written by Joshua Davis, details John McAfee’s wild turn from wealthy tech magnate to paranoid drug hustler in the jungles of Belize. The film is written by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski, the screenwriting duo who wrote Man on the Moon and created American Crime Story, and will be directed by Glenn Ficarra and John Requa (Whiskey Tango Foxtrot).
Davis’ feature story is bonkers. In 8,000-plus words, it details McAfee’s crazy turn from his well-intentioned start in software development, all the way to his bizarre life of running drugs, fleeing police, and enforcing his own laws in Belize. If you don’t know who McAfee is, he created McAfee Associates, the security software company that developed the first commercial antivirus software. From there, McAfee bloomed into a multi-millionaire tech magnate who fled to Belize in escape from some lawsuits. In Belize, he created his own jungle kingdom and became notorious for hustling down drug dealers and womanizing underage women, all while selling fake drugs. After he returned to the United States from Belize, he sought the presidential nomination in 2016 under the Libertarian Party, ultimately losing to Gary Johnson.
Keaton’s casting as McAfee is perfect. Not only does he bear a slight resemblance to McAfee, but Keaton has also been killing it lately. After returning to relevance with an amazing, Oscar-nominated performance in Birdman, he has continued his Keatonaissance with great performances in Spotlight, The Founder, and Spider-Man: Homecoming. Keaton always brings a special life to real characters, embodying them with characteristics and charisma that feel true to the actual situations. While he often brings very dramatic and subdued performances, this film should require him to act a bit more on the ridiculous side — given how Davis’ article describes McAfee –– which he has shown in Beetlejuice and even some parts of Birdman.
Rogen’s casting is a little more interesting. He is playing “Ari Furman,” which is seemingly a stand-in name for Davis, who stayed in Belize with McAfee for some time. Rogen is obviously best known for his comedic roles in Knocked Up, Superbad, and The Pineapple Express, but has certainly shown he can turn dramatic in films like 50/50 and Steve Jobs. We’re unsure where this film will take Rogen, but he’s always engaging and entertaining in everything he does.
King of the Jungle, which has been in development for quite some time (Johnny Depp was once attached to play McAfee) is looking to sell to distributors at this week’s American Film Market. Among other production companies, the movie is to be produced by Condé Nast Entertainment, a division under Condé Nast, the brand that owns many popular magazines such as Wired, Vanity Fair, and Vogue.