Hereford Films, the leading producer of true crime and gangster films in the UK, has announced today that it has acquired the film rights to Bernard O’Mahoney’s bestselling book Essex Boy: Last Man Standing. The film adaptation will be released in 2020 to mark the 25th anniversary of the infamous ‘Range Rover Murders’ in Rettendon, Essex. The book is based on the true story of Steve ‘Nipper’ Ellis.
Hereford Films previously adapted O’Mahoney’s Essex Boys: The New Generation as Bonded By Blood 2 in 2017.
Nine films and numerous books have attempted to tell the shocking story of two of Britain’s most ruthless gangs. For 20 years, the Essex Boys firm and their successors, the New Generation, controlled a lucrative drugs empire in Essex and throughout the south east of England by using intimidation, gratuitous violence and murder. Rampaging through the streets and clubland, they destroyed anything and anybody that dared to get in their way.
Eventually torn apart by greed and paranoia, the gang members became victims of their own vile trade and hate-filled actions. Pat Tate, Tony Tucker and Craig Rolfe were all blasted repeatedly with a shotgun as they sat in their Range Rover down a remote farm track. Dean Boshell was lured to allotments, then beaten and shot execution-style three times through the head. Others, such as Darren Nicholls and Damon Alvin, turned Super Grass and disappeared into the witness protection scheme never to be seen again, while three other men are in prison serving life sentences.
Steve `Nipper` Ellis is the last man standing, the only member to have survived the bloody reign of both gangs. In Essex Boy, he tells his shocking story for the first time, and reveals just how close he came to being both murderer and murder victim.
Bernard O’Mahoney is one of the biggest selling authors of true crime books in the UK. Amongst his biggest hits are Wannabe In My Gang, Faces of the Underworld, Trouble In Mind, Wild Thing and the Essex Boys series. He is currently writing Mr Big: The Inside Story of the Life and Brutal Death of Gangster Paul Massey. Essex Boy: Last Man Standing was first published In 2009 and won rave reviews, with The News of the World saying, “the story is terrifying and gripping in equal measure. It’s a miracle he’s here to tell the tale.”
The book is being adapted for the screen by Simon Cluett, who has previously written Age of Kill, We Still Steal the Old Way and Bonded By Blood 2 for Hereford Films. Mark Harris, who starred in The Hatton Garden Job and is set to play Roy Shaw in the biopic Pretty Boy, is attached to play Nipper. Casting is expected to get underway this Spring and the producers are currently meeting directors.
Hereford Films CEO Jonathan Sothcott commented, “The 25th anniversary of the Range Rover murders seems the perfect time to unleash the definitive account of the Essex crime scene. These films are incredibly popular and this one offers an uncompromisingly grim view of the truth, as told by the only man who survived. I have done several of these films before, notably the incredibly successful The Fall of the Essex Boys, and I believe that if we offer audiences a genuinely fresh take rather than rehashing the same old story, the film will be a hit.”
Other films on the Hereford Films slate for 2019 include sequels We Still Die the Old Way and The Krays: Marked For Death, casino heist movie Swipe, gangland home invasion thriller Reckoning Day and underworld biopic Pretty Boy.