Gizmondo exec's shady story headed for big screen
Saga of Ferrari-crashin' criminal and would-be handheld impresario Bo Stefan Eriksson optioned for feature-film treatment.
Though dominated by the launch of the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii, the 2005-2006 news cycle also featured one of the most colorful tales to ever emerge out of the game industry. The tale was that of Bo Stefan Eriksson, the alleged member of the "Swedish Mafia" who served as European director of Gizmondo, the ill-fated independent handheld company.
In 2004, Eriksson collected over $2.2 million in salary and bonuses from Gizmondo Europe, which went bankrupt in 2006. However, it was in 2005 that he collected global notoriety for a spectacular 199mph car crash on the Pacific Coast Highway outside Malibu. Not only did Eriksson destroy an irreplaceable $1.1 million Ferrari Enzo, but he also blamed the incident on a mysterious German named "Dietrich," who he claimed fled the scene after driving the totaled car.
Even stranger were Eriksson's attempts to claim he was a member of an antiterrorism force and the appearance of some never-identified men claiming to work for the Department of Homeland Security. Subsequent DUI, smuggling, weapons, and cocaine charges added to the intrigue.
The shadiness surrounding Eriksson's crash and subsequent trial were meticulously detailed in journalist Randall Sullivan's October 2006 Wired article "Gizmondo's Spectacular Crack-up." Today, the Hollywood Reporter reports that that same article will soon become a feature film, having been optioned by Independent Spirit Award-nominated writer-producer Craig Zobel (Great World of Sound). The film will also touch on Eriksson's mistrial, three-year jail term, 2008 deportation, and rearrest in Sweden last month on suspicion of extortion, theft, and assault.
"He just keeps giving," deadpanned Beau Flynn, who will produce the film with business partner Tripp Vinson under their Contrafilm label. The production house is also currently working on the remake of Red Dawn and the Anna Faris comedy What's Your Number?
"Craig's sense of tone is what really blew me away," Flynn told the Reporter. "Craig has a quality like the Coen brothers. He really has that keen and acute ability to capture what's real but also capture the comedy in what's real."