Do you remember Chippendales? Your horny aunt definitely does, but the biggest point of reference for those of us born in the ’80s (or, ugh, later) is probably the classic SNL sketch featuring the dearly departed duo of Chris Farley and Patrick Swayze. We’ll soon become better acquainted with the glistening, shirtless world of Chippendales through a new film about the man behind the, uh, men. Dev Patel is set to headline the long-developing project, which has tapped I, Tonya’s Craig Gillespie to direct, Deadline reports. Patel will play Somen “Steve” Banerjee, an immigrant and entrepreneur from India who purchased a failing nightclub in Los Angeles and turned it into an adult-oriented enterprise featuring ladies’ mud wrestling, various stripping events, and a male exotic dancing night for women—which debuted in 1979 and quickly became the crown jewel of Banerjee’s enterprise.
Banerjee teamed up with Paul Snider and attorney Bruce Nahin to transform the nightclub and cultivate the Chippendales brand. At the time, Snider was married to a young model named Dorothy Stratten, who helped design the Chippendales dancers’ signature costume. Snider went on to murder Stratten in a notoriously gruesome incident that served as the basis for Bob Fosse’s Star 80. In the ’90s, Banerjee was charged with various plots to murder three former dancers he perceived as a threat to his business, along with a 1987 plot to murder Nahin. (Ben Stiller was previously attached to play Nahin in the Chippendales film, but that role is currently unfilled.) After accepting a plea deal on charges of attempted arson, racketeering, and murder for hire, Banerjee was sentenced to 26 years in prison. He was found dead in his prison cell, the result of an apparent suicide, on October 23, 1994.
So it’s basically Magic Mike, but a real bummer. Tragic Mike, if you will.