What else can go wrong for Volkswagen AG (VLKPY)? Well, you could open the morning papers to find out that one of the world’s highest-profile environmental activists is planning to crucify you on the big screen.
According to literary agents Marly Rusoff & Associates, Leonardo DiCaprio wants to make a movie version of the scandal around the falsification of its diesel vehicles’ emissions data. That scandal has already claimed the scalp of VW chief executive Martin Winterkorn, and a raft of civil suits and criminal investigations into the company seems certain to yield up still more material worthy of a Hollywood conspiracy thriller. The company has indicated it will have to slash investment in order to conserve capital to meet the legal penalties it expects, something that may lead to major job cuts.
The site says that DiCaprio’s production company Appian Way has teamed up with Viacom Inc. (VIA) unit Paramount to buy the rights to make a film out of a (still untitled) book proposal by the New York Times‘s European economic correspondent, Jack Ewing.
DiCaprio’s emotional engagement in the project seems more than plausible, given his appointment last year by the U.N. as a global ambassador raising awareness of Climate Change. (He also drives an emissions-free Tesla roadster for good measure.)
According to the site, Ewing’s book “inked a mid-six figure book deal” with publishers Norton earlier this month. Ewing told Fortune that he’s not giving up the day job yet.
Nothing daunted, Fortune asked Ewing what his working title will be, given that “Body of Lies” and “Total Recall” might prove tricky when it comes to putting it on the big screen.
He still wouldn’t bite, other than to note that “Herbie the Stink Bug” seems to be quite popular on the Internet right now.
This article has been updated to confirm the attribution and include Ewing’s comment.