‘The Mysterious Case Of Rudolf Diesel’: Priority Pictures Options Douglas Brunt’s Bestselling Crime Thriller

EXCLUSIVE: Priority Pictures, the production company of Emmy-winning producers Lizzie Friedman, Karen Lauder, and Greg Little, has optioned Douglas Brunt’s NYT bestseller The Mysterious Case of Rudolf Diesel and will develop it for the screen, Deadline has learned. It’s not clear at this point whether the adaptation will be for film or TV.

Also recently named a Best of 2023 Staff Pick by Apple Books, The Mysterious Case tells the true story of Rudolf Diesel, one of history’s greatest inventors, who vanished into thin air on the eve of World War I. His revolutionary invention, the Diesel engine, was highly sought after by global industries and political figures around the world. It had the power to threaten empires and change the fate of nations, turning him and his technology into both a prized asset and a potential threat.

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“Rudolf Diesel changed the course of WWI and his technology has powered the global economy to the present day,” explained Brunt. “The challenges he faced in his time as an inventor and a ‘citizen of the world’ are like a distant mirror, and his disappearance in 1913 is the greatest caper of the 20th century. I’m thrilled that Priority Pictures will shepherd this story to the screen.”

Added Friedman on behalf of Priority, “We are honored that Doug has entrusted us with his epic crime thriller. Rudolf Diesel was one of the most powerful tech titans of his time and his mysterious disappearance has affected every aspect of the world we live in today. This is an incredible story that explores what happens when tech, big business, and governments collide.”

Also the host of the top-rated SiriusXM podcast Dedicated with Doug Brunt, Brunt’s other past works include Ghosts of Manhattan, The Means, and Trophy Son.

In addition to the Sports Emmy-winning surfing documentary Momentum Generation, Priority Pictures has produced the Sundance prize winner The Stanford Prison Experiment and Steven Caple Jr.’s The Land, which was nominated for the Best of Next! Audience Award at the Park City, UT festival.

Priority Pictures was repped in the deal by Randolph Paul. Brunt is with Keith Urbahn at Javelin.

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