Motive Pictures has won the rights to develop Gary Stevenson’s  hit autobiography, The Trading Game, for television as a limited series in a “hotly competitive” option process.

The No. 1 Sunday Times bestseller will be adapted by screenwriter Gregory Burke (Atomic, Rebus, ‘71).

The Trading Game is billed as a “propulsive, deeply compelling and human exploration of the dark side of capitalism, with Stevenson’s story serving as a potent allegory for our times.” The autobiography charts Stevenson’s rise from the streets of East London to becoming the top trader in the world for Citibank, and his subsequent descent into depression “as he fought to escape the golden handcuffs he found himself trapped in.”  The narrative “takes readers on an unvarnished, white-knuckle journey to the dark heart of an intoxicating world and shines a piercing spotlight on the financial industry, how it’s shaped the cost-of-living crisis and why the ever-growing scourge of inequality is a danger to us all.”

Gary Stevenson says: “I’m looking forward to collaborating with Greg and the talented team at Motive on my story and seeing it brought to life on screen.”

Gregory Burke says: “When I read ‘The Trading Game’, Gary’s story seemed to me a perfect encapsulation of the dysfunction at the heart of capitalist society in the twenty-first century. It is about an outsider’s journey through one of the financial institutions at the centre of the UK and global economy, and the moral and intellectual sacrifices he had to make in order to succeed. But much more than that, it shows how the individual becomes trapped, and lays bare how the institution, and the financial system it is part of has contributed to the economic and political landscape we are dealing with today. I cannot wait to bring his story to the screen.”

Lila Rawlings, Executive Producer, adds: “Gary’s visceral insights into a world that is far more ominous than we might ever realise, coupled with his defiant desire to change things, make this memoir so ripe for adaptation.  And I have no doubt that Gregory will bring this brilliant story to life through compelling scripts that spark humour, sadness, shock, anger (and everything in between), just as the book does.”

The development deal comes after a string of series launches for Motive Pictures including The Woman in the Wall for BBC One and Showtime, One Night for Paramount+ and upcoming series Get Millie Black for Channel 4 and HBO and a newly announced greenlit project for Prime Video with Guy Ritchie, Young Sherlock.  Executive Producers Lila Rawlings and Simon Maxwell, and Development Executive Sam Ferguson will lead on The Trading Game.

The deal was negotiated by Lesley Thorne of Aitken Alexander Associates Ltd on behalf of Gary Stevenson and his literary agent Chris Wellbelove. Gregory Burke is repped by Casarotto Ramsay & Associates.

Jon Creamer

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