A producer who acquired rights to Richard Scrushy’s story is planning a documentary about whether “foxhole Christianity” played a role in the fired CEO’s exoneration in a huge fraud at HealthSouth Corp., an executive with the film company said Monday.
Marcos M. De Mattos, vice president of Gener8Xion Entertainment Inc., a small production company in Hollywood, said executives want to explore the role religion played in Scrushy’s trial, which ended in his acquittal in June on charges of leading a $2.7 billion fraud.
“Our CEO was intrigued with the Richard Scrushy story,” said De Mattos. “Did Mr. Scrushy turn to his faith because he was getting on the airplane, so to speak, or is he a true believer favored by God?”
Gener8Xion (pronounced “Generation”) paid a “nominal amount” for the rights to Scrushy’s story, but the former HealthSouth chief executive will have no creative control over the final product, said De Mattos.
Scrushy spokesman Charlie Russell confirmed the deal but said he was unfamiliar with details.
In a statement released by the film company, which produces family-based entertainment that includes shows and movies with Christian themes, Scrushy said Gener8Xion was good at reaching audiences “outside the traditional Hollywood system.”
“One is always concerned about how their story will be handled,” Scrushy said in the statement. “And while I expect this documentary to be rather hard-hitting at times, I feel that Gener8Xion Entertainment will accurately portray the story as it unfolded.”
De Mattos said neither Scrushy nor anyone associated with him owns any part of the film company.
During his six-month trial, a Birmingham TV station purchased by Scrushy’s son-in-law aired a nightly program sympathetic to the defense. Scrushy and his wife also appeared on a daily television show that featured Bible study and talks with preachers who supported him.
While jurors acquitted Scrushy on criminal charges, the Securities and Exchange Commission is seeking $785 million from him in a civil lawsuit. A judge has ordered mediation in an attempt to settle the case, which Scrushy has asked a court to dismiss.
Gener8Xion Entertainment said it is nearing completion of a two-part feature film called “One Night With the King” featuring Peter O’Toole and Omar Sharif. The movie is based on the Old Testament story of Esther.