The story of a Ukrainian man who posed as a Harrisburg High School student is in the works to hit the big screen.
Ansel Elgort, who is famous for his roles in “The Fault in Our Stars” and “Baby Driver,” is attached to star in an adaptation of the story, according to Deadline. The film is based on a GQ article by Daniel Riley entitled “The Great High School Imposter.” Mike Makowsky is writing the adaptation.
Artur Samarin came to Harrisburg in 2012 from Ukraine on a temporary work visa. There he met Stephayne McClure-Potts and Michael Potts, a married couple who convinced Samarin to lie about his age so that they could adopt him. The 19-year-old Samarin thus became Asher Potts, a high school freshman with a thick Ukrainian accent.
Samarin excelled at Harrisburg High School and dreamed of working for NASA. But in December 2015, police were tipped off that a man who had come to America illegally was posing as a high schooler and having sexual relationships with fellow students. Samarin would later admit to having sex with a 15-year-old girl. Samarin was 22 at the time, although he pretended to be 17.
The couple that had adopted Samarin was responsible for the tip, and later painted him as a terrorist to the media and police. Samarin had run away from the couple a few months before. He claimed they were treating him like a servant and forced him to sleep in a closet.
Samarin was ultimately found guilty of passport and Social Security fraud, as well as statutory sexual assault. He was sentenced to 11.5 to 23 months in Dauphin County Prison for the sexual assault charge and two months in federal prison for the other charges. Samarin has since been deported to the Ukraine.
Stephayne McClure-Potts was found guilty of Social Security fraud and harboring an illegal alien. She was sentenced to five months in federal prison and two years of probation. Michael Potts was sentenced to two years of probation for harboring an illegal alien.
The film on Samarin is the work of Participant Media and Conde Nast Entertainment. Elgort and Makowsky, along with Emily Gerson Saines, are executive producers, according to Deadline.