Eddie Antar was the founder and proprietor of Crazy Eddie, a popular consumer electronics chain in the northeastern United States that was hugely prominent in the 1970s and early 1980s. The chain was famous for its TV commercials that aired in New York City and elsewhere featuring DJ Jerry Carroll talking about how the chain’s “prices are insane.”
Antar’s empire collapsed in the mid-1980s. Shortly after Antar’s family sold the company to new owners, those owners discovered that the Antars had committed massive financial fraud, and the chain closed in 1989. Antar, after he was charged with a series of crimes, fled to Israel in 1990. After a series of trials, he was convicted in 1997 and sentenced to eight years in prison. Antar died in 2016 at the age of 68.
Now, “Crazy” Eddie is going to be the subject of a movie. Per Deadline, Jon Turteltaub will direct Insane, a biopic of Antar. Entertainment One has set up the project, with Peter Steinfeld writing. Sam E. Antar, Eddie’s cousin and co-conspirator, will serve as an associate producer, and the story will be told from his point of view.
There’s no word on casting for the film. Turteltaub previously directed such films as National Treasure, Phenomenon, The Meg, Last Vegas, While You Were Sleeping, and Cool Runnings. Steinfeld, the writer, wrote Be Cool and 21.
In 2010, Danny DeVito announced plans to direct a movie about the Crazy Eddie saga. But, per Deadline, the project fell apart after some of the people who said Antar had swindled them threatened to place liens on the movie.
EXCLUSIVE: Entertainment One has set Jon Turteltaub to direct Insane, a film based on “Crazy” Eddie Antar, the late consumer electronics king who wound up serving six years in prison for perpetrating one of the greatest securities frauds in history https://t.co/a4amOuWUyT
— Deadline Hollywood (@DEADLINE) June 13, 2019
“It was all going well until we got a call from some big-time lawyer who represented a lot of people who were hurt by Eddie,” DeVito said to Deadline in 2010. “He painted him as the Bernie Madoff of his generation and said that if Eddie is involved in any way, we’re going to put liens on the movie. I didn’t like the sound of that at all. This put a big, wet blanket over the picture. What it boiled down to is, if Eddie is involved at all, then we’re in trouble.”
It’s unclear how the makers of the new film will get around that particular problem. Yet, Eddie Antar’s death, in the years since, may have made a difference.
There was an attempt by a New York businessman to revive the Crazy Eddie name for a new online electronics store in 2009 with some aspirations to get back into brick-and-mortar retail, per Dealerscope. But that company appears to no longer be in business.