July 8, 2013
Ben Affleck’s and George Clooney’s favorite (Jewish) journalist
Joshuah Bearman, the audacious and meticulous journalist behind the story that became "Argo" has just published his latest piece for GQ, about a bunch of twentysomething surfers from Southern California who transformed themselves into drug lords.
And rumor has it: George Clooney is interested in the film rights.
Now available in the July issue of the magazine, “Coronado High” tells of a group of young SoCal surfers and their high school Spanish teacher who haphazardly coalesced to create one of the most efficient drug smuggling operations in the country. An excerpt from GQ:
Like “Argo” the story of Coronado occurred decades ago, but Bearman has proven himself deft at unearthing history. “I get a lot of my stories through tips,” Bearman told me during a recent interview. “I keep a huge list of story ideas. Some are crazy things," he added, "like I read somewhere that Stalin directed his zoological faculty at the Academy of Science to try and breed monkeys with people to create ape warriors.”
Though Bearman said that story seems un-reportable (“because everybody’s dead”), he explained that it is the wild, uncanny and unbelievable narratives that most interest him. An editor at Harper’s once described his journalism as “Dude, no way! stories.”
“I’m always looking for narrative but I’ll often look for something that’s surprising or unusual or complicated,” Bearman said.
In his first published piece for McSweeney’s, in the winter of 2000, the Minnesota-born, Pasadena-raised writer interviewed his physicist father about his work with the Dead Sea Scrolls.
The rest of the article, about “imaging spectroscopy to read parts of the [Dead Sea] Scrolls that were illegible” is quite fascinating (Bearman’s father joined a team of researchers in Jerusalem after an initial examination of the Scrolls revealed the words K'tav M'lay Noah -- “He wrote the words of Noah”). You can read the full interview here.
Bearman wrote another amusing piece for Playboy Magazine, billed as a “true-life 1970s Hollywood epic” about a cocaine-snorting Jewish producer (Bert Schneider) who helped smuggle a prominent leader of the Black Panther movement (Huey Newton) to Cuba. You can read that one here.
But if you want to read the story that Clooney is reportedly hot to direct, you’ll have to head to a newsstand; the full “Coronado High” won’t be available on the Web until September. In the meantime, keep on the lookout for a profile of Bearman coming soon...