With the extraordinary success of the award-winning 12 Years A Slave, all eyes have been on Brad Pitt’s Plan B Productions, waiting to see what project they would throw their weight behind next. After tackling militant extremism (A Mighty Heart), existential philosophies (The Tree Of Life), statistics (Moneyball) and AIDS ( the upcoming The Normal Heart), there has never been any way to predict which subject matter would grab Pitt’s eye next. The company seems to have answered that question for us, however, as Defamer are reporting that Plan B have apparently secured the rights to the Rolling Stone article, Anonymous Vs Steubenville, by David Kushner.
To be fair, if it wasn’t based on now infamous real-life horror, this excellent article would read like a particularly gripping movie pitch. The fact that it is based on actual events makes the story all the more astonishing. Following the tale of Deric Lostutter (aka KYAnonymous), the article details his evolution as a ‘hacker activist’, and his subsequent development as a member of the Anonymous community. Completing a number of successful ‘Operations’ – during which he exposed corruption within a local school district, ‘took down’ a ‘revenge porn’ site and its operator, and campaigned against the Westboro Baptist Church – Lostutter’s attentions were drawn to Steubenville, Ohio, where something deeply disturbing was apparently happening.
Lostutter became aware of a news story about the terrifying rape and abuse of a 16 year old Steubenville girl, at the hands of two high-school football stars. Beyond the initial crimes, there were apparently photographs and comments circulated openly by the perpetrators across social media, followed by a cover-up within the community. In becoming embroiled in the fight for justice within Steubenville, Lostutter allegedly found himself under siege from those accused, from law enforcement agencies, and from sections of the Anonymous community itself.
If the acquisition is real, there are several reasons why this makes for an incredibly exciting film project. Firstly, though no writer has been announced yet, the potential is here for a narrative filled with drama, intrigue and paranoia. Secondly, this is a story that lays bare events that nobody wanted to look at in the first place, from a different angle. It shines a huge spotlight right into the darkest corners of those communities that willingly turn a blind-eye to the crimes of those perceived to be in positions of power. Thirdly, this project comes along at a time when the actions of ‘hackers’ and activists are big news – following the efforts of Edward Snowden to bring corruption and abuses of power to light on an international level.
Finally, Anonymous Vs Steubenville is a high-profile opportunity to address the existence of rape culture in our societies. All those things that people do, attitudes that people have, excuses that people make, and victim-blaming that people engage in – all perpetuating the myth that rapists are not solely responsible for their crimes. This project affords that opportunity because this case is the absolute epitome of rape culture at work, and the source article details that perfectly. While the convicted rapists were ultimately sentenced to only 12- 24 months in jail, Lostutter the hacker is now facing up to 25 years. I can’t think of anyone better placed than the producers of 12 Years A Slave, to make us take a long hard look at what the implications of those sentencing guidelines actually are.
Source: The Playlist