If there is ever going to be a box office hit based on economic theory, it will be Freakonomics. Based on the bestselling tome by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, which utilizes Levitt’s economic expertise to illuminate "mysteries of everyday life", the film is shaping up as a sort of documentarian all-star effort. Produced by The King of Kong‘s Seth Gordon and Paris je t’aime‘s Chad Troutwine, the segmented feature will bring together some of the top non-fiction directors working today – Eugene Jarecki (Why We Fight), Alex Gibney (Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room), Jehane Noujaim (Control Room), Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me), Rachel Grady & Heidi Ewing (Jesus Camp), and Laura Poitras (My Country, My Country) – in order to explore the book’s often controversial ideas.
For example, Jarecki will look into the notion that the drop in violent crime is attributable to Roe v. Wade (I have no idea why this would cause a fuss!), while Gibney will examine the claim that teachers and sumo wrestlers cheat. Other as-yet-unassigned theories include proving the clutchness of NFL kicker Adam Vinatieri (as if this year’s Indianapolis/San Diego game didn’t already blow that one to shit), and the fact that swimming pools are statistically more dangerous to children than guns.
Freakonomics is scheduled to begin shooting this January and should be wrapped by the summer. It sounds like a great idea, but I do hope the filmmakers will be allowed to challenge the conclusions should their own research point up potential flaws in Levitt’s work. Simply rehashing the book would be kind of useless.