LOS ANGELES - "Chippendales" has found its director. Craig Gillespie, who helmed the 2017 Oscar-winning film "I, Tonya," is officially on board to direct the movie, a source close to the project tells Variety.
The film has been in development for two decades by Permut Productions' David Permut. Bold Films is also set to produce, and Craig Williams has written the newest draft of the script. It was announced back in 2017 that "Lion" actor Dev Patel will star.
"Chippendales" follows the true story of Steve Banerjee, played by Patel, an Indian immigrant who acquires the struggling L.A. club Destiny II and transforms it into a hot spot. The club features women's mud wrestling and a ladies-only male exotic dance night, which becomes the basis for the famous "Chippendales" group. Soon enough, Banerjee finds himself earning $8 million a year, and with the help of co-creators Paul Snider and his playboy bunny girlfriend Dorothy Stratten, builds an empire on the idea. However, treasure soon turns to tragedy when Snider murders Stratten and then commits suicide, sending Banerjee into a downward spiral of legal battles.
Though Patel has been cast as Banerjee for several years, the supporting role of his business partner, Nick Denoia, is still up for grabs. Ben Stiller was originally in talks to play the part, but is no longer involved as he is focusing on his own directorial career.
Gillespie's most recent project has been "Cruella," the live-action adaptation of "101 Dalmations" villain Cruella de Vil starring Emma Stone. Gillespie is represented by UTA and Management 360.
Deadline was first to report the news.
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