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Originally published August 11, 2011 at 7:51 PM | Page modified August 11, 2011 at 7:52 PM

Barefoot Bandit sells movie rights for up to $1.3M

Barefoot Bandit Colton Harris-Moore has signed a deal that will pay him up to $1.3 million for the movie rights to his life. He says the money will go to repay his victims.

Seattle Times staff reporter

quotes Every penny should go back into he law enforcement agencies that had to spend millions... Read more
quotes Dear John Henry Brown - maybe you don't know have any idea how a rowboat works. ... Read more
quotes Glad to see he's doing the right thing. Sounds like he is remorseful. Hope he does... Read more

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A deal that Colton Harris-Moore just signed for the movie rights to his life will come close to covering the $1.65 million in damages that state and federal prosecutors say he caused.

"It's an extraordinary good deal; a lot more money than you usually get for life-story rights," said Lance Seth Rosen, the Seattle entertainment attorney who negotiated the deal, worth up to $1.3 million.

Rosen said a more typical fee would have been in the $300,000 to $400,000 range, but that Twentieth Century Fox thought it was worth it.

He said he assumed it'd be a theatrical release and not a made-for-TV movie.

No money will go to 20-year-old Harris-Moore, the Barefoot Bandit who went on a two-year crime spree, including the thefts of two airplanes and a boat, as well as a string of break-ins and thefts. He was finally caught in the Bahamas.

In a statement he released this week from the Federal Detention Center at Sea-Tac, Harris-Moore said:

"First and foremost, I am grateful beyond words that nobody was physically hurt by my dangerous and careless actions. I know too that I am lucky to be alive.

"I did things that were not only a violation of law, but also of trust ...

"I have absolutely zero interest in profiting from any of this and I won't make a dime off it ...

"Getting money to my victims is the least I can do, and because of my situation it is probably the best I can do ... "

Harris-Moore has pleaded guilty to seven federal felony charges in a plea agreement that recommends he serve between 5-¼ and 6-½ years in prison to resolve the federal aspects of his crimes.

Still pending are more than 30 state felony charges in four counties, which could add time to Harris-Moore's sentence.

Rosen said that Dustin Lance Black, who won an Oscar for the screenplay for "Milk," the movie about the gay San Francisco politician who was assassinated in 1978, has already drafted a screenplay for Twentieth Century Fox about Harris-Moore "based on available information."

Now, said Rosen, the screenwriter will revise the draft after meeting sometime soon with Harris-Moore.

John Henry Browne, the attorney representing the Barefoot Bandit on the criminal chargers, said the movie would have plenty of compelling material.

"At one point," the attorney said about his client, "he was rowing across the Mississippi River in a 10-foot aluminum boat, in a hailstorm, with the engine running out of gas, and only one oar."

Browne said one problem that Black would have in interviewing Harris-Moore for the screenplay is that "Colton is painfully shy. You saw him staring down in court, staring at the table."

At one point, when he was on the loose, a Facebook fan page for Harris-Moore had more than 77,000 friends. His notoriety has diminished, but the page still has 41,631 followers.

Browne said that Harris-Moore sometimes gets 200 letters a week, including offers to send him money and to adopt him.

He said the Barefoot Bandit wants to go to college, whether taking classes while in prison or after he gets out.

His interests?

"Mathematics and aviation," said Browne.

Erik Lacitis: 206-464-2237 or elacitis@seattletimes.com

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