LOS ANGELES – As Volkswagen continues to deal with its ongoing diesel emissions scandal, the story is becoming fodder for an upcoming book, which has already been optioned for a film by actor-producer Leonardo DiCaprio.
Jack Ewing, veteran European economics correspondent for the International New York Times who has written extensively about the Volkswagen scandal, is working on a book on the subject, and according to Variety, publishing rights have been sold to W.W. Norton for mid six figures.
The website of literary agents Marly Rusoff & Associates notes that the book was pitched as “the Too Big To Fail of the auto industry,” referring to the 2009 book and subsequent HBO movie that provided a raw, behind-the-scenes view of the financial crisis that began in 2008.
Although Ewing’s forthcoming book doesn’t even have a title yet, film rights have been scooped up by DiCaprio’s Appian Way production company in conjunction with Paramount Pictures and Viacom.
DiCaprio’s involvement shouldn’t come as a surprise, since he’s known as one of Hollywood’s leading environmental activists. His Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation has funded more than $30 million in grants to global conservation initiatives, and the actor has received numerous accolades for his environmental work, including the Clinton Global Citizen Award and the Mediation Division Award from Prince Albert of Monaco.
It’s not likely that the book or the movie will treat Volkswagen kindly.
The Rusoff site refers to Ewing’s account as “the story of Volkswagen and how a ‘more, better, faster’ ethos fueled one of the greatest frauds in corporate history affecting 11 million car owners on six continents.”
The fallout of the scandal, in which Volkswagen doctored the software of certain diesel engines in order to circumvent emissions regulations, has included the resignation of the company’s CEO, a host of civil suits, an investigation by the U.S. Senate, a likely recall by the EPA and an erosion of public trust.
Edmunds says: As if Volkswagen didn’t have enough trouble from its diesel-emissions crisis, it now may suffer the indignity of seeing the story brought to the big screen.