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Josh Brolin, Cate Blanchett, Jonathan Demme & More Wanted For ‘Erin Brokovich’-Esque Auto Industry Drama

Written by on May 15, 2012 

Anyone in the world can say they want so and so for their upcoming project (see: The Hunger Games director shortlist or any early possible casting surrounding Michael Fassbender), so when producers have a wishlist, it should be taken with a large grain of salt. The latest comes from Roger Friedman, who lets us know a tip about a project that is now gearing up for talent.

The film is an adaptation of Adam Penneberg’s Tragic Indifference: One Man’s Battle with the Auto Industry over the Dangers of SUVs, which may or may not be titled the simpler Bloody Highways. WB first had the project with Michael Douglas attached as the lead role of attorney Tab Turner, who fought for the victims of Ford Explorer accidents, where the truck’s Firestone tires exploded.

Now, the hope is to get Josh Brolin playing the lead role, alongside a meaty lead actress role, with the current shortlist including Cate Blanchett, Laura Linney, and Nicole Kidman. Compared to Erin Brockovich, Michael Clayton and Silkwood, the project is also lining up directors, with Jonathan Demme leading the pack. Another court drama like this one seems a bit try, but under Demme’s direction, along with any of these actors, I’d be interested. Check out the synopsis below via Amazon.

Tragic Indifference is the gut-wrenching account of the biggest product liability case in history: the Ford-Firestone fiasco, where delaminating Firestone tires caused Ford Explorers to lose control and crash at highway speeds. The result was a massive recall, consumer panic, and congressional hearings. It all culminated in a lawsuit that would become a watershed for all future auto safety lawsuits.

In February 2000, reports began to surface of an alarming number of rollover cases involving Ford Explorers traveling on Firestone’s Wilderness AT tire. As the stories drove a national frenzy of news coverage, no one seemed to know what was causing the devastation. Until one lawyer, who had been campaigning for years to get Ford to acknowledge the dangerous flaws in the design of the Explorer — an engineering flaw greatly exacerbated by the use of Firestone’s tires — stepped forward to demand that Ford executives take responsibility for the lethal design of their trucks.

More than a courtroom drama, Tragic Indifference reveals the web of individual stories beneath the national headlines. Weaving together harrowing depictions of the accidents and their consequences with the stories of the men and women who labor to police the auto industry and its reckless cost-cutting, Tragic Indifference will transform the way you view the government, the courts, and the media. Above all, this book shows the price the public pays in wrecked and mangled lives when companies focus more on shaving costs than making quality products.

At the center of the story is Tab Turner, a charismatic trial attorney from Arkansas, who has made a career out of forcing Ford and other automakers to own up to their unsafe practices and to admit that they knowingly trade human lives for profits. Given the almost complete lack of government regulation over the auto industry, Turner has become, in essence, the court of last resort for victims of callous auto companies.

Tragic Indifference also recounts the struggles of Turner’s client Donna Bailey, a single mother and outdoor enthusiast who led troubled teens on backpacking trips, as she fought back from the brink of death to confront those ultimately responsible for her accident. Her case became a benchmark for all others that followed.

Have you read the book? Does this talent seem like a good fit?

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