‘Barefoot Bandit’ movie deal worth up to $1.3 million

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Colton Harris-Moore, otherwise known as the infamous “Barefoot Bandit,” doesn’t have to steal from anyone anymore.

Now he’s being given the money.

Harris-Moore has reportedly signed a movie deal with 20th Century Fox worth an estimated $1.3 million for the rights to his life story.

For Harris-Moore, now 20, that tale begins in Washington where from as early as 10 years old he became a fixture of juvenile detention centers for petty thefts and other small crimes.  In 2008, he fled a Renton, Wa. halfway house and embarked on a two-year, multi-state crime spree that included robbing a bank as well as burglaries of over 100 homes in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean.

He stole boats, cars and even airplanes after reading books on how to fly and eventually made his way to the Bahamas where, after police shot out the engine of his stolen boat as he was attempting to flee, he was arrested in July 2010.

Harris-Moore is currently being held in a Federal Detention Center in Seattle and is scheduled for sentencing in federal court at the end of October.

Though rumored to sometimes break into homes, shoeless, for things as simple as frozen pizzas or ice cream before retreating back to his wooded hideouts (hence the nickname Barefoot Bandit), Harris-Moore owes his victims an estimated $1.4 million in total losses over the two-year spree.

His newly signed movie deal nearly covers the tab, and that’s exactly what Moore intends to use it for.  Last June, Harris-Moore pleaded guilty to several federal charges including plane and boat theft as well as bank robbery.  As part of the plea agreement, he agreed to forfeit any proceeds from movie or book deals to the federal government to pay restitution.

“I did things that were not only a violation of law, but also of trust,” Harris-Moore said in a written statement released by his attorneys on Wednesday.  “I can’t undo what I did, I can only try to make things better.  I am humbled to know that I can now help the people I hurt, at least for the financial damages I caused them.  I have absolutely zero interest in profiting from any of this.”

Dustin Lance Black, the Academy Award-winning screenwriter of the movie “Milk,” has reportedly already written portions of the script and will finish it upon further in-depth discussions with Harris-Moore, his defense attorney said.  According to an article in Variety Magazine last year, Director David Gordon Green of “Pineapple Express” fame is rumored to direct the picture.

Several names, including Zac Efron and Michael Cera, have been thrown around to play Harris-Moore, although nothing has been confirmed.

The seemingly made-for-Hollywood drama could be a huge success on the big screen as the fugitive developed a huge internet following including fan clubs and t-shirts urging him to keep running during his two-year escapade, though the outcome of Harris-Moore’s future may not be as prosperous.  He still faces more than 30 state charges and could be spend more than 10 years in prison.

“I am grateful beyond words that nobody was physically hurt by my dangerous and careless actions,” Harris-Moore’s statement said.  “I know too that I am lucky to be alive.  Getting money to my victims is the least I can do, and because of my situation it is probably the best I can do.”

photo courtesy Wisl via wikimedia commons

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