A Walsoken man has turned Hollywood agent to help set up a deal that will see the life of infamous lottery winner Michael Carroll made into a major film.
Dubbed the “lotto lout” after he turned up to collect his massive £9.8 million jackpot wearing an electronic tag he was sentenced to wear for being drunk and disorderly, Michael is now broke and working in a slaughterhouse in Scotland.
But according to Carl Chapman, close family friend and mentor to the former part-time West Norfolk binman, he is the happiest he has ever been.
“He is off the drugs and the drink and he is happy. He was made redundant from his last job in a biscuit factory, he wasn’t sacked, and he went straight out and got another job in the slaughterhouse.
“ He is with his daughter, he is working hard and he looks the best I have ever seen him,” said Carl.
Carl was amazed to receive a call in December from Hollywood film company Art Linson Productions, which has been behind some major films in the past including Heat, which starred legends Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, as well as Pushing Tin and The Assassin.
“I looked at my phone and couldn’t work out who was calling. I have friends living abroad, but I just didn’t recognise the number, when I answered it was film producer Jonathan Sandford and he wanted to talk about making a film of Michael’s life based on the biography written by Sean Boru,” said Carl.
The working title for the film is the same as the book “Be careful what you wish for” although the characters’ names are to be changed to try to divert some attention away from Michael, who blew all his winnings on cars, houses and drugs.
He did give his mum, grandmother and aunty £1million each after the win in November 2002, and he also doled out cash to some local good causes including King’s Lynn boxing club.
Contracts have been drawn up and signed with the film company paying $1,000 for the rights to the story and giving them 18 months to get the project off the ground.
The contract could net £100,000s more once the film is finished and on the big screen.
Just who will play the self-proclaimed ‘King of the Chavs’ is not yet known, but Michael is hoping his shoes might be filled by screen hard-man Danny Dyer, who is currently on television screens as the new landlord of the Queen Vic in Eastenders.
Carl said Michael has already had a taste of life on a film set after appearing briefly in a couple of films including one that starred Danny Dyer.
“When he won the lottery he loved all the media attention and played up to it.
“Now he has settled down, and although he has nothing he is content. All he ever wanted was to be with his daughter and he has that now,” said Carl.
Michael and his ex-wife Sandra are also now back on good terms.
“To be honest winning all that money destroyed the pair of them.
“They just couldn’t handle it. Sandra got fed-up with all the publicity and all the aggro that went with it, but they are good together now,” said Carl, who added: “Even though it caused so many problems and basically ruined his life Michael does still dabble with the lottery.
“I think he still gets a buzz out of buying a ticket.”
Carl hopes the film company will decide to shoot the movie in and around the Downham Market area where Michael grew-up.
He doesn’t care who picks up the role of Carl Chapman in the film.
“To be honest I haven’t thought about it. If I can get a week in the Hollywood sunshine out of this, then I will be happy,” he concluded.