By Tara Fowler
This weekend, Michael Bay will try to erase the sting of "Armageddon" with the true-crime feature "Pain & Gain." Personally, I've never met a Bay film I haven't liked (well, maybe Pearl Harbor), so I couldn't be more psyched for this movie, which centers on three Florida bodybuilders—Daniel Lugo, Adrian Doorbal, and Paul Doyle—who turned to a life of crime in the mid-90s. The true story is more bizarre then the film itself, so I highly suggest you check out Pete Collins' lengthy exposé in the Miami New Times. But for those of you who don't have the time, check out some highlights from the article below.
1) The gym's core clientele initially consisted of "cops and bad guys": Which was problematic for obvious reasons. One police officer quipped that he could "meet my monthly quota of felony arrests in one night at the Sun Gym" by running background checks on all the men working out around him.
2) Daniel Lugo told people he was working for the CIA: Sabina, a dancer and Lugo's girlfriend, became suspicious of his frequent trips to the Bahamas, so she asked him what he was up to. His response? "Look, if you're ever going to understand me," Lugo told her, "if this relationship is ever going to be real, you've got to understand my work. I'm with the Central Intelligence Agency." He then began using "007" as a specialized code for her beeper.
3) Florida businessman Marc Schiller was held captive by the gang: Initially the Sun Gym gang hoped to hold Schiller for only two days, but it took weeks to convert all his assets. In the meantime, they invented an elaborate story that would explain Schiller's absence involving him running away with a hot young Cuban. While in captivity, Schiller "felt the electric lash of the Taser guns, the explosions of punches, the pistol-whippings. The men took his Sharper Image all-weather lighter and burned him on his arms and chest. They played Russian roulette against his temple." You can read more about it in his book.
4) When Schiller was first found after his captivity, no one believed his story: Schiller, who'd been force-fed alcohol and then made to get into an accident, was admitted into the hospital as a suspected DUI case. However, he insisted he'd in fact been imprisoned and tortured for more than a month. No one believed him—and they assumed that if he had really been kidnapped, it was over drugs. Still, Schiller begged for protection.
5) After hearing that Schiller was still alive, the gang decided to visit the hospital to finish the job: The Sun Gym Gang waited to hear news of a single-fatality car crash, but when they didn't, they started calling local hospitals looking for Schiller. He was admitted as a John Doe, but they eventually managed to track him down, purchasing hospital garb as a disguise. Luckily, Schiller checked himself out before the gang ever made it to the hospital.
And that's just the beginning of the crazy saga... Read more here or just go see "Pain & Gain" this weekend.