The script itself prompted a high stakes bidding game – from which OddLot Entertainment emerged victorious – and now, Academy Award winner Alexander Payne (Sideways, The Descendants) is considering taking a chance on Septillion To One. Penned by The Newsroom writer Adam R. Perlman and newcomer Graham Sack, the true tale of a mysterious serial lottery winner has sparked the imaginations of several production companies – all keen to get behind OddLot in pushing the project through to production as soon as possible.
Septillion To One is inspired by the real, and suspiciously fortunate activities of Joan Ginther, who won large sums of money playing the lottery in Texas, and also happens to have a PhD in Statistics from Stanford University. Ginther’s first big win came in 1993, when she picked up half a Lotto Texas jackpot, amounting to $5.4 million. She reportedly moved to Las Vegas in 2001, but continued to return to her home state to play scratch-card games. In doing so, she won $2 million in 2006, $3 million in 2008, and $10 million in 2010. She also won many smaller amounts in between – as did a number of her family and friends. The key to her success has remained a mystery, although speculation continues to swirl around the theory that she has figured out some kind of pattern – predicting where and when cards with big wins will be on sale in the area of Bishop, Texas.
Turning that story into what is characterized as a romantic comedy, the script has a former FBI agent working in the Texas State Lottery fraud department, hot on the trail of a multiple jackpot-winning woman, determined to reveal her master plan. As the two engage in a lengthy game of cat-and-mouse, the investigator finds himself falling for his suspect. OddLot Entertainment’s Gigi Pritzker explained the excitement surrounding the fast-developing project.
“Linda [McDonough, of Marquee Entertainment] and Tom [McNulty, of MC2] brought us this contemporary romantic comedy that kept us riveted and entertained until the end. This is a smart script, based on a true story out of Texas, has commercial viability with a slew of A-list talent and directors already interested.”
The identities of the A-list talent circling Septillion To One has yet to be revealed, but The Wrap reports that filmmaker Alexander Payne is at the head of the queue behind the camera. Whether that interest crystallizes as a directorial commitment, or as a producing role remains to be seen – not least because Payne is also thought to be squaring up to make his long-anticipated shrinking dramedy, Downsizing, which he co-wrote with regular collaborator Jim Taylor. Where Alexander Payne’s chips will ultimately fall is anyone’s guess, but the anticipation now building around Septillion To One shows that many hope he will be going all-in on this one.
Source: The Wrap