Jon Turteltaub to direct a film based on ’70s con man “Crazy” Eddie Antar

Last Updated on August 5, 2021

Jon Turteltaub, Crazy Eddie, Insane

Back in my day, you could scarcely make it through a "quick commercial break" without catching an advertisement for Crazy Eddies, a discount appliance/stereo/TV chain owned and operated by “Crazy” Eddie Antar. The commercials, featuring a hyperactive pitchman (played by comedian Jerry Carroll), urged you to "come on down" and take advantage of "Crazy" Eddie's incredible deals. Truth be told, the adverts were kind of hard to ignore, as Carroll's intense energy and copious amounts of flop sweat made for one hell of an entertaining thirty-second slot. In fact, I think my Dad had purchased a television from Crazy Eddies once, though we had no idea that the store's founder was as crooked as the tags advertising the stores low, low prices.

It's been announced that Entertainment One has set THE MEG and NATIONAL TREASURE helmer Jon Turteltaub to direct INSANE, a film based on "Crazy" Eddie Antar and his tech supply shenanigans. You see, Antar eventually wound up serving six years in prison for perpetrating one of the greatest securities frauds in history.

As the story goes, Antar launched his Crazy Eddie franchise in Brooklyn, which quickly grew to a total of 43 stores throughout the New York metropolitan area. Antar craftily hired Caroll to portray a crazed salesman in his commercials, whose astoundingly low prices were “In-sa-a-a-a-ane.” Once the chain went public, Antar became Wall Street royalty, with officials being none the wiser to his shady dealings behind closed showroom doors. You see, Antar had been siphoning money and lying about his inventory to inflate stock value. This is an exceptionally illegal practice. In time, Antar was caught, with United States Attorney Michael Chertoff going so far as to refer to the shady shyster as the “Darth Vader of capitalism.”

Deadline broke the news today about eOne securing Turteltaub for the high-profile project. The outlet also included a comprehensive breakdown of Antar's crimes which you can read for yourself here: Losing control of his company in a hostile takeover, Antar went on the lam after the new owners uncovered his financial shenanigans and the SEC charged him with stock fraud. He fled to Israel — where he’d deposited millions of dollars — only to be extradited three years later. His brazen manner became his undoing: told in Switzerland that his account had been frozen, an outraged Antar went to the cops nearby, who soon figured out what was happening and put him in cuffs. Antar ultimately served a prison term that ended in 1999 and was ordered to pay $150 million in fines. Crazy Eddie was sold and the buyers were unable to recover from the fraud they would painfully uncover, and the whole thing went bankrupt.

Antar passed away in 2016. Meanwhile, his cousin, Sam E. Antar, was CFO of Crazy Eddies and was directly involved in Eddie's fraudulent crime. Today, Sam Antar is a forensic accountant who helps bring fraud scams out into the light. He's also an associate producer of Turteltaub's newly-announced INSANE project. The story of "Crazy" Eddie Antar and his antics will be told from Sam's perspective, as a cousin with a knack for cooking books and taking a little off the top of the family business.

To make matters even more interesting, Eddie's nefarious deeds weren't even discovered until after the crooked con man fled the country, then cashed in his shares for the company to the tune of $74 million. At the time that Eddie was brought up on charges, Sam lied under oath about the whole affair before he finally caved and played ball with prosecutors.

Holy smokes! I mean, I knew that "Crazy" Eddie was … well, crazy, but I had no idea that the rabbit hole went this deep. This could definitely make for a fascinating film, especially for me, since it all happened right in my backyard. We'll be sure to bring you more news about this project as it develops.

Source: Deadline

About the Author

Born and raised in New York, then immigrated to Canada, Steve Seigh has been a editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. He started with Ink & Pixel, a column celebrating the magic and evolution of animation, before launching the companion YouTube series Animation Movies Revisited. He's also the host of the Talking Comics Podcast, a personality-driven audio show focusing on comic books, film, music, and more. You'll rarely catch him without headphones on his head and pancakes on his breath.