Jake Gyllenhaal not getting an Oscar nomination for Nightcrawler will surely go down as one of the great snubs of all-time, but it’s not stopping him from getting work. After turning down a role in Suicide Squad, Gyllenhaal is set to play ’80s drug smuggler Max Mermelstein in The Man Who Made It Snow, a biopic based on Mermelstein’s autobiography being directed by Antoine Fuqua. Mermelstein lived my childhood dream of one day smuggling so much cocaine that someone would make a movie about me.
Mermelstein was sentenced to only two years and 21 days in jail even though it’s estimated he smuggled upward of 56 tons of cocaine, worth $12.5 billion, into the United States. He received a light sentence because he was a valuable asset to the U.S. government, providing insight into the inner workings of the international narcotics network the Medellín cartel.
Mermelstein decided to flip on his Colombian drug-trade partners after his 1985 arrest while driving in Davie. After the cartel refused to post his million-dollar bail, he was forced to choose either a lengthy jail sentence that protected his ex-partners or become one of the most influential informants in the history of the DEA. He chose to flip and take the lighter jail sentence.
The idea for a movie was born in part thanks to filmmaker/screenwriter Brett Tabor, a man whose obsession with Mermelstein was chronicled by New Times in 2010. Tabor came across Mermelstein’s story in Billy Corben’s film Cocaine Cowboys. …Tabor eventually tracked him down and persuaded Mermelstein to sign over the film rights to his best-selling autobiography just months before he died of lung cancer. [Miami New Times]
If I’m remembering correctly, Max Mermelstein was the guy who wasn’t interviewed in Cocaine Cowboys who all the other guys seemed to hate (of course, snitching will have that effect on people). Mermelstein died in 2008. Jon Roberts died three years later. Griselda Blanco was killed by an assassin on a motorcycle in 2012, which is a pretty gangster way to die for a 69-year-old woman. In any case, I’m happy to see Jake Gyllenhaal take on the part of a cocaine smuggler with a really cool name. At the very least, we know he’s great at playing coked out and twitchy.