Stephen Gaghan Lines Up Films About Smuggling People and Drugs

As an ek-junkie and Oscar-winning writer of "Traffic," Stephen Gaghan knows a thing or two about the drug smuggling business, knowledge that will serve him well on one of his new projects. Let's hope he doesn't have as much personal experience with human trafficking for the other.

Gaghan will direct "The Snakehead," an adaptation of the book by the New Yorker's Patrick Keefe, about Sister Ping, an elderly woman in Chinatown who used to run a noodle shop on Hester Street, while at the same time smuggling countless Chinese immigrants into the U.S. She made tens of millions, charging folks $18,000 a head, but the party ended in '93, when a shipment--of people--ran ashore in Queens.

But the first film on Gaghan's docket is an untitled project based on Richard Marosi’s four-part series in the Los Angeles Times this summer, about the cocaine pipeline from Sinola, Mexico, to LA. The operation hid drugs in everything from cars to frozen chickens.

"After 'Traffic' I felt there was too much money spent on interdiction and not enough on treatment, and I still feel that you have to change the consumption engine in human behavior," Gaghan told Deadline in talking about the film.

Gaghan hasn't directed or written a film since 2005's fantastic international thriller, "Syriana," starring George Clooney and Matt Damon, it'd be good to have him back.

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