Costume designer to produce film on gay blackmailing scandal

Openly gay costume designer Michael Kaplan will double as producer for a film about blackmailers who extorted money from closeted gay and bisexual men in the 1950s and ’60s, Daily Variety reports. Kaplan just optioned a Wall Street Journal story, written by Bill McGowan, which centers on a group of individuals who posed as corrupt vice squad detectives to blackmail closeted men, many of whom held positions in government, the military, and the entertainment industry. New York detectives broke the case, known as “The Chickens and the Bulls.” One ringleader, Edward “Mother” Murphy, became a famous gay activist after his arrest and jail time. “What shocked me was how widespread this scandal was and how few people knew about it,” Kaplan says. The time period of the scandal, he adds, has a “great noir mood, but the heart of the movie will be the story.” Kaplan designed costumes for Flashdance and Fight Club, but he isn’t sure whether he’ll do the costumes for this film.

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