Ice cream truck drivers: they seem nice. Smiling at kids, playing their jolly little jingles, quietly doing their part for the American obesity epidemic. But there’s another side to the fudge ripple slingers of the world, a series of turf wars and internecine conflicts that can devolve into arguments, fire, and the dreaded “Four-Truck Gang Bang.”
That’s the focus of a new film being developed by American Sniper producer Andrew Lazar, working alongside Epic magazine. Based on the Epic article “The Cold War,” written last year by David Wolman and Julian Smith (and covered by the public radio show Radiolab), it tells the story of two Oregon men who end up in a heated battle when their rival ice cream truck companies come into conflict. On the one side: a former mortgage broker who gives his drivers inspirational speeches—and, later, war briefings—every day before sending them on their routes. On the other: a hard-working Hispanic immigrant with no respect for the soft-sell when it comes to soft-serve.
The two men engaged in a running battle over the course of several summers, eventually leading to burned-out vans, hardened feelings, and a low-speed, tinkly-soundtracked chase. Now it’s being turned into a movie, although it remains to be seen whether Lazar and producer/journalists Joshuah Bearman and Joshua Davis will focus more on the goofy side of warring ice cream men, or the hard-eyed desperation of cold-hearted salesman trying to protect the only world they know or understand: SpongeBob SquarePants novelty bars.