Criminal gets million-dollar movie deal

  • Blog Post by: James Lileks
  • August 11, 2011 - 9:03 AM

Crime pays? Not so fast.

The young Washington state man dubbed the Barefoot Bandit after a cross-country crime spree brought him folk outlaw status has reportedly signed a movie deal worth as much as $1.3 million with 20th Century Fox.


The Daily Herald reports that the money will be used to help pay the minimum $1.4 million that 20-year-old Colton Harris-Moore owes in restitution to the victims of his two-year-long crime spree.


Seattle entertainment lawyer Lance Rosen negotiated the deal on Harris-Moore's behalf. He says it's an unusual amount of money to be paid for anyone's life story rights.


Harris-Moore pleaded guilty in June to seven federal felony charges. Sentencing is set for October. He still faces state court charges.

Depending on the creative team’s approach, it’ll either be Tragic Romantic Story of a rebel who couldn’t live by society’s stifling rules, and was thus forced to steal airplanes and burgle houses to fully realize his potential, or it’ll be a straight story that still gets your sympathies, like Mann’s movie about Dillinger. Either way, he won’t be at the premiere; he faces at least a decade in jail. Given the fact that he’s been a criminal since he started a housebreaking career at the age of 10, it’s a start. Although I’m sure his mother is outraged he’s doing any time at all. From a Time magazine piece:

He's been accused of stealing speedboats to travel to nearby islands to plunder empty homes. In November 2008, police suspect that Harris-Moore hot-wired a Cessna that belonged to a local radio DJ — he'd ordered a flying manual on the Internet — and crash-landed it 300 miles (about 480 km) east on an Indian reservation. Since then, he may have stolen two other planes, both of which were later found crashed. He apparently walked away from the wrecks, miraculously unharmed. On Fox News, Harris-Moore's mother Pam Kohler outraged her tut-tutting interviewer by saying, "I hope to hell he stole those planes. I'd be so proud. But next time, I want him to wear a parachute."

Lovely people. He has a Facebook fan page, too. And his very own ballad!



There are many more, if you’re interested.

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