In a heated auction with multiple studios bidding, Netflix won movie rights to Dr. Rapp, and already is eyeing for John Hamburg to write the script and direct the film. The Atlantic Magazine article by Jeff Maysh was published in January under How a Stroke Turned a 63-Year-Old Into a Rap Legend. It became the year’s first heated material acquisition.
David Klawans (Argo) will produce with Michael Sugar (Spotlight) and Ashley Zalta through Sugar23’s first-look Netflix deal.
Article tells the story of Dr. Sherman Hershfield, a respected neurologist from Beverly Hills, who practiced medicine in the San Fernando Valley. When Hershfield suffered a stroke, an unusual side effect changed his life forever: He couldn’t stop speaking in rhyme. Remarkably, Hershfield then emerged in South Central as a freestyle performer, Dr. Rapp.
Hamburg’s scripting credits include Night School and Little Fockers. Films he has directed include Along Came Polly, I Love You Man, and Why Him?
Klawans previously set Maysh’s Daily Beast article McScam with Twentieth Century Fox, Ben Affleck, and Matt Damon, the tale of how an ex-cop rigged the McDonald’s Monopoly game and stole $23 million; set Maysh’s Daily Beast story about Prince with Paramount Players and Elizabeth Banks; and got a Netflix deal for Maysh’s Atlantic article A Catfish with A Happy Ending.
Sugar’s producing The Laundromat, the Steven Soderbergh-directed drama about the Panama Papers that stars Meryl Streep, Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas for Netflix. Also percolating is an adaptation of Riley Sager’s Final Girls at Universal, and Infidel at TriStar, among other films.
Margaux Swerdloff, Director of Development, brought the project in for Sugar23.