Man trying to sell his soul drumming up business with Spider-Man's studio
By ALEXANDRA ZAYAS
Published February 7, 2007
TAMPA - Just three months ago, 28-year-old Gerald Fraller was so lonely and desperate for money, he launched a Web site to sell his soul.
Now, Fraller can't keep his new friends away. The most famous among them: Spider-Man star Tobey Maguire.
Last week, Fraller entered into a 90-day contract with Maguire's production company and Nash Entertainment, temporarily signing over the right to make a movie out of his life.
"It immediately struck me as a great story," said Nash Entertainment producer Robert Kosberg, who discovered Fraller in a news article.
Fraller quit his job as a computer technician and launched www.winmysoul.com in November out of his unfurnished Tampa apartment. On the Web site, he will raffle off a contract forever binding him to the winner of his soul. The winner gets 20 benefits, including a percentage of Fraller's taxable income for the rest of his life and the power to choose the first name of all his children, plan his wedding day and write the inscription on his tombstone.
The concept made Kosberg's mind race with movie possibilities. "This could be perhaps a hilarious comedy, a romantic comedy," Kosberg said. "Maybe the woman who wins his soul is the woman he ends up marrying, then you have 'soul mates.' "
Nash Entertainment, best known for reality television shows For Love or Money and Meet My Folks, wants to expand into dramas, sitcoms and movies. A partnership with Maguire's production company seemed right.
The producers aren't interested in retelling Fraller's true story. They just want to use it as inspiration. They haven't said how much they would pay him if a movie is made or if Maguire would play Fraller. First, they have to pick a writer and pitch it to Hollywood studios. They have 90 days under the contract they signed with Fraller.
"I am one step away from becoming a movie," Fraller said.
Meanwhile, Fraller fields calls from Hollywood agents who say they can get him interviews with late-night talk show hosts. "Show me what you can do," he tells agents.
He stays busy with long-distance phone interviews with newspapers and radio stations as far away as Japan, Argentina and Spain. The buzz has generated $3,761 through the Web site so far, each dollar equaling one contest entry for Fraller's soul. The money will help start a nonprofit foundation for people with depression, Fraller said. He will draw the raffle winner in July.
Fraller said he knew the possibilities for his Web site were endless. The summer before he launched it, Dreamworks bought the rights to a story about a man who started with one red paper clip in a series of 14 online tradeups that ended with a house.
"I knew there was a very wide spectrum of things that were possible. It outweighed the bad. The bad was not really bad considering where I was in my life, anyway," Fraller said. "If it failed, what did I have to lose?"
Just his soul.
Alexandra Zayas can be reached at 813 226-3354 or firstname.lastname@example.org.