Billy Corben’s Rakontur Sets Doc ‘From Russia With Lev,’ Following Lev Parnas’ ‘Forrest Gumpian Presence’ in Trump Scandals (EXCLUSIVE)
Hulu’s “God Forbid” and Netflix’s “Cocaine Cowboys” producers Billy Corben and Alfred Spellman have set their sights on their next subject: one of the members of Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani’s former inner circle, Florida businessman Lev Parnas.
Corben and Spellman’s Miami-based production company Rakontur is currently in production on “From Russia With Lev,” following Parnas (interviewed for the first time in this project) who, per Rakontur, “shares his story about how he and Rudy Guiliani worked behind the scenes to damage the Biden presidential campaign, conspired with Russian officials to sabotage efforts in the Ukraine and many more alleged crimes.”
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A frequent collaborator of Adam McKay’s Hyper Object, Rakontur does not yet have a platform attached to the Parnas doc, but is taking it out to market soon.
“Our genre is Florida fuckery, so we have a rolling Google Docs spreadsheet of extraordinary Miami characters,” Corben told Variety. “And we very much believe that the Miami of today is the America of tomorrow, that if you want to know what challenges we’ll face or calamities will befall us as a nation in the years or even decades to come, you need only look at Florida and particularly South Florida, as like the canary in the coal mine. We’re always looking for those kinds of stories were it’s a micro story, but also a more national or international macro story. And Lev is a uniquely kind of Florida Man, if you will, and he was very much on our radar from the beginning.”
Corben added: “With the world now perpetually on the verge of World War III, we realized, this is not just flashing back to Donald Trump’s first impeachment, this is very much the backstory of why we are — or should be– on pins and needles, in almost a Cuban Missile Crisis-esque kind of environment and fear of the implications of Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine. It’s a Trojan horse doc — where you’re going to tempt the audience with the candy, and then you slide the broccoli in while you have the audience there.”
Spellman describes Lev as, “in this Hitchcockian way, just an ordinary man with this extraordinary circumstance that he finds himself in.” “Lev is one of the only people from Trump’s inner circle to have, quote, unquote, flipped,” Spellman said. “It’s very much talked about in our multiple interviews with him, talking about how this is like an exit interview from a cult.”
In a lawsuit filed May 15, Giuliani’s former assistant Noelle Dunphy made multiple allegations against Giuliani, including a claim he told her he had attempted to sell presidential pardons for $2 million each. Dunphy’s attorney said on MSNBC that Parnas was present for this conversation and Dunphy’s team would like to speak with him about the allegation.
“This week’s breaking news further confirms Lev Parnas’s Forrest Gumpian presence for a multitude of Trumpworld shakedowns and swindles — whether it’s the cash sale of presidential pardons, the extortion of an ally using American taxpayer dollars, or a fraudulent scheme to discredit the results of the 2020 election,” Spellman said.
According to Spellman, “Trump basically rolls from one foreign influence campaign to effect the 2016 election into a foreign influence campaign to elect the 2020 election, seamlessly, the day after,” an angle of the story he and Corben found “remarkable” to explore with someone “at Lev’s level” and “who could tell us the ins and outs of how this actually work, what actually happened.”
“And not solely his word on it — he has all of the corroboration from his photographs, from his video, and from other individuals who corroborate his involvement at this level with the Trump administration and Giuliani, on paper,” Spellman said.
“From Russia With Lev” is repped by WME.
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