Italy’s Most Wanted Mafia Boss Set For High-End Biopic

The story of Italy’s most-wanted Mafia boss, Matteo Messina Denaro, whose recent arrest by police in Palermo after 30 years on the run made global headlines, is set to become a big-budget film.

Rome-based producer Marco Belardi (“Perfect Strangers”) has acquired rights to ace anti-Mafia journalist Lirio Abbate’s book about the Cosa Nostra boss. The book is titled “U Siccu,” which is Sicilian dialect that translates as “The Skinny One.”

Messina Denaro was arrested in mid-January by dozens of police officers outside an upscale medical facility in Palermo where he had been undergoing cancer treatment for a year under false identity.

Belardi’s company Bamboo Productions has announced plans for the tale of this elusive top mafioso, convicted of masterminding some of Italy’s most heinous slayings – including the killings of prosecutors Giovanni Falcone and Paolo Borsellino, and the grisly murder of a Mafia turncoat’s young son, who was strangled before his body was dissolved in a vat of acid – to become “a major motion picture” directed by a still unspecified top Italian helmer, it said in a statement.

Abbate’s book, which is published by Rizzoli and has sold well in Italy, is a portrait of Messina Denaro that delves into various aspects of his life and personality including his love of luxury from an early age; his womanizing amid Palermo’s nightlife; and his being a ruthless killer who rose up the ranks to become the operative who implemented Cosa Nostra’s decision in the 1990s to kill the country’s top anti-Mafia prosecutors with consecutive bombings in 1992 as well as dozens of other murders. It also covers his role as father and his ability as a fugitive and as a businessman who forged ties with politics, the financial world, and Italy’s Freemasonry.

Bamboo Production was launched last year by Belardi, who formerly headed film and TV company Lotus Production, which besides producing globally adapted megahit “Perfect Strangers,” also spawned a steady stream of other hits such as Gabriele Muccino’s “There Is No Place Like Home,” which in 2018 pulled in more than $10 million locally, and has been spun off recently into a successful TV series for Sky.

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