CALIFORNIA, United States, Monday July 10, 2017 – Belize Prime Minister Dean Barrow referred to him as “bonkers,” and to law enforcement in the Caribbean country he was “a person of interest” in a murder investigation. But whatever you care to call software guru John McAfee, “boring” won’t factor into it.
So, it should come as no surprise that McAfee, the hard-living, high-flying Silicon Valley creator of McAfee Antivirus, will be the central figure in an upcoming movie about his Belizean exploits “King of the Jungle.”
To be played by Johnny Depp, with a screenplay based on a series of reports by Wired, McAfee is tipped to be portrayed as an eccentric genius whose penchant for living on the edge repeatedly courts disaster.
According to Wired, the software expert’s father was a heavy drinker who regularly beat him and his mother and then shot himself dead when McAfee was 15.
McAfee reportedly inherited his father’s self-destructive ways. As a 38-year-old engineer at Omex, he was doing lines of cocaine at his desk and knocking back a bottle of scotch daily before he decided to sober-up and start his own company.
His eponymous firm made him a household word and opened the door to fabulous wealth and a lavish lifestyle.
When the recession started to bite, he moved to Belize, where he built a private paradise in the jungle, filled with “gas, sex and madness,” as the Hollywood Reporter described the project.
King Of The Jungle will follow the Wired reporter who went to Belize to interview McAfee but eventually found himself sucked into McAfee’s world of “escalating paranoia, slippery reality, and murder,” the Hollywood Reporter said.
Local police raided his property, suspecting that he was manufacturing methamphetamine, despite his insistence that the lab was extracting compounds from jungle plants to transform into cutting-edge antibiotics.
Although he was never charged with drug manufacturing, his lab was shut down. Soon after, he was named a “person of interest” in the mysterious shooting death of an American who lived two doors down from his oceanfront compound.
McAfee denied the murder allegations but went on the run, careering from one jungle hideout to another. He eventually made it back to the US, set up house in Tennessee, and even had a shot at running for president as a Libertarian, coming in behind eventual presidential candidate Gary Johnson.
While the movie will focus on McAfee’s wild exploits in the jungle, the tech pioneer recently told ABC News that he’s making a comeback in more conventional style.
He now heads a new company that invests in cybersecurity and also does paid speaking engagements, where some in the hacking world consider him to be a visionary, according to ABC.