Having spent the last decade directing some of the weirdest and most darkly comic films in recent memory—including scoring several Oscar nominations, plus one win, for last year’s Olivia Colman feature The Favourite—Yorgos Lanthimos is now bringing his distinctly odd sensibilities to television. Per Deadline, the Dogtooth director has just signed on to helm and produce The Man In The Rockefeller Suit, a limited series about the antics of an infamous imposter who cut his way across wide swathes of the upper crust in the ‘80s and ’90s, before ultimately being found out in the mid-2000s—i.e., exactly the sort of ethically dubious, reality-agnostic character Lanthimos has spent much of his career holding up in pointed comparison to the people who view his films.
As with The Favourite, the series is being produced through the recently Disney-acquired Fox Searchlight. And while it doesn’t have a network set as yet, its placement within the wider Disney content farm, which also includes both Hulu and FX, seems borderline certain. Meanwhile—and also like The Favourite—Lanthimos is working from someone else’s script, rather than one he wrote with frequent collaborator Efthymis Filippou; we have to assume that David Gilbert’s teleplay, adapted from a book by Mark Seal, will sound at least a bit less like it was written by aliens who’d learned English by watching distant broadcasts of scrambled ’70s soaps.
As for the subject of the show—and please, consider this a spoiler for reality—the currently incarcerated Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter has led a long and bizarre life among the hoi polloi, often passing himself off as “Clark Rockefeller,” a supposed distant member of the famous family. His career as a con-man (and occasional convicted murderer) has also been covered in books, a Lifetime special, and any number of true crime podcasts, and has included such highlights as talking his way into a high-end computer systems job (and then getting fired for using the same Social Security number as the Son Of Sam), talking multiple women into marrying him on a variety of false pretenses, and kidnapping his own daughter after claiming she telepathically communicated her distress to him from London. (That last one might have just been part of an insanity plea, though.) In other words, a thoroughly strange and dangerous man; it’ll be interesting to see what Lanthimos, no stranger to the strange and dangerous, can do with his tale.