Back to IndieWire

J.C. Chandor Goes To ‘The Liar’s Ball’ With A24

J.C. Chandor Goes To 'The Liar's Ball' With A24

Nothing says power and prestige like having your name inscribed on a building. One can only imagine that’s a primary reason Harry Macklowe purchased the GM Building in Manhattan, and that story will serve as the backdrop for a potential new film by J.C. Chandor.

READ MORE: Interview: J.C. Chandor Talks ‘A Most Violent Year,’ Sandy Hook Influence, Violence On FIlm And More 

A24 has announced today that the “A Most Violent Year” director will adapt Vicky Ward‘s non-fiction book “The Liar’s Ball.” Gideon Yago (“The Newsroom,” “Manhattan“) will pen the script, and Zachary Quinto, who starred in “Margin Call,” is among the producers on the project, which includes Chandor, who will be eyeing it to direct. Here’s the book synopsis: 

Harry Macklowe is one of the most notorious wheelers and dealers of the real estate world, and Liar’s Ball is the story of the gamblers and thieves who populate his world. Watch as Harry makes the gutsy bid for midtown Manhattan’s famous GM building and put almost no money down, landing the billion-dollar transaction that made him the poster child for New York’s real estate royalty. Listen in on the secret conversations, back-door deals, and blackmail that put Macklowe and his cronies on top—and set them up for an enormous fall.
Vanity Fair contributing editor Vicky Ward skillfully paints the often scandalous picture of the giants who owned the New York skyline until their empires came crumbling down in the 2008 financial crisis. Based on more than 200 interviews with real estate moguls like Donald Trump, William Zeckendorf, Mort Zuckerman, and David Simon, Liar’s Ball is the never-before-told story of the egomaniacal elites of New York City. Read about:
-The epic rise and fall of one of the richest American real estate barons
-Outlandish greed and cravings for power, attention, and love
-Relationships built and destroyed by vanity and gossip
-The bursting of the real estate bubble and its aftermath
This is no fiction—this is a real life tale of extravagance, ambition, and power. Harry Macklowe ruthlessly clawed his way to the top with the help of his loyal followers, each grubbing for a piece of the real estate pie. Liar’s Ball reveals their secrets and tells the tale of business as usual for this group—lying, backstabbing, and moving in for the kill when things look patchy. From the bestselling author of The Devil’s Casino comes an exposé on the real estate elite that you’ll hardly believe.

Sounds like a firecracker story with big personalities, and certainly an opportunity to line a great ensemble to play them all. Can’t wait to hear more as this one develops. Check out the full press release below.


NEW YORK, NY (June 9, 2015) – J.C. Chandor, the award-winning writer-director of MARGIN CALL, ALL IS LOST, and A MOST VIOLENT YEAR, is expanding his filmmaking efforts to producing alongside his long-time producers Neal Dodson and Anna Gerb. The three will produce the film adaptation of Vicky Ward’s acclaimed book “The Liar’s Ball” together with their A MOST VIOLENT YEAR distributor A24 and producer-financier Eva Maria Daniels of VisionChaos Productions. Screenwriter Gideon Yago (The Newsroom, Manhattan) has just closed a deal to adapt and is researching and writing now. Zachary Quinto, who produced and starred in Chandor’s MARGIN CALL, will executive produce.
The team has partnered to option the non-fiction book “The Liar’s Ball” with an eye for Chandor to direct. The book, published by Wiley, was written by former Vanity Fair contributor and “Devil’s Casino” author Vicky Ward and tells the full history of New York’s famed G.M. Building (which faces the southeast corner of Central Park) from before it was built to the present.
Vicky Ward says, “When I heard J.C. wanted to turn my book into a movie I couldn’t believe it! I always try – as far as journalistic license allows – to condense time and space in my work the way he does, so that in the foreground, you have larger-than-life characters thrashing about in extremes and the reader has no choice but to get inside their headspace and see things from their perspective. A24’s collaboration with J.C. and his team on A MOST VIOLENT YEAR was a perfect example of that. So I am just thrilled that they want to take on the clash of brutal, battling egos that comprises the fractious, ruthless, scarcely believable world of New York Real Estate.”
“The Liar’s Ball” explores a rich, complex tale of industry titans fighting it out over one of the crown jewels of New York City real estate. Much of the story in the book focuses on Harry Macklowe and his battles to own and re-develop the G.M. Building in the 1990’s and into the 2000’s. That battle resulted in the now famous Apple Store “glass cube” but also ultimately in Macklowe losing the building. Remarkably, he rebounded and built a new real estate empire after that loss. It’s a Horatio Alger and King Lear tale set in a fascinating and high-stakes milieu.
Chandor says, “Commercial real estate in New York City has long fascinated me, to the point where I once had a broker’s license. The story that Vicky has captured through relentless research and interviews explores the drama and the romantic nature of buildings in a city that has continued to push closer and closer to the sky with each passing year.”
A24 and VisionChaos Productions are working together on a slate of development projects, with A24 set to distribute the films when they come to fruition.
In addition to his prior critically-acclaimed films, Chandor recently wrote the screenplay for a film about Vince Lombardi for Legendary and is developing several other projects concurrently. Gerb is putting together films with directors Liza Johnson and Maryam Keshvaraz. Dodson and Quinto have Camille Thoman’s YOU WERE NEVER HERE in post-production, starring Mirielle Enos and Sam Shepard, Brian Shoaf’s AARDVARK in pre-production to star Quinto, and they produced the DGA-award-winning documentary series THE CHAIR with Chris Moore for Starz. All four are represented by CAA, as is screenwriter Yago. Ward is represented by WME.

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: News and tagged ,

Get The Latest IndieWire Alerts And Newsletters Delivered Directly To Your Inbox