Matt Damon set to play a real-life con man in Charlatan
Variety reports that Matt Damon will star in the upcoming film Charlatan, starring as the real-life figure John R. Brinkley, who conned thousands of people in the early 20th century with a classic snake oil pitch.
The film is based on the 2008 book based on the figure titled Charlatan: America’s Most Dangerous Huckster, the Man Who Pursued Him, and the Age of Flimflam, by Pope Brock, which is described as follows:
In 1917, John R. Brinkley–America’s most brazen con man–introduced an outlandish surgical method for restoring fading male virility.
It was all nonsense, but thousands of eager customers quickly made “Dr.” Brinkley one of America’s richest men–and a national celebrity. The great quack buster Morris Fishbein vowed to put the country’ s “most daring and dangerous” charlatan out of business, yet each effort seemed only to spur Brinkley to new heights of ingenuity, and the worlds of advertising, broadcasting, and politics soon proved to be equally fertile grounds for his potent brand of flimflam.
Culminating in a decisive courtroom confrontation, Charlatan is a marvelous portrait of a boundlessly audacious rogue on the loose in an America ripe for the bamboozling.
Damon will also produce the film alongside Kimberly Steward. The pair previously collaborated on Manchester by the Sea. Brian Koppelman and David Levien (Ocean’s Thirteen, Billions) will pen the adaptation.
A competing project based on the life of John R. Brinkley is in the works from director Richard Linklater and set to star Robert Downey Jr. as the huckster.
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)