One day, a representative of The Associates who calls himself "G" contacts Dexter Wright, a onetime jewel thief and bank robber known as "The Professor" because of his well-planned schemes and the fact that he used to teach Classical Poetry at Berkeley. The Professor will be played by Denzel Washington.
"G" has some disturbing news for Wright: several people very close to him, including some good friends and even a cousin, have been kidnapped and will be executed unless he does exactly what The Associates tell him to do. He is to steal the gold nugget display from the Wells Fargo location and deliver it to "G." He offers as proof a photograph of Wright's close friend and former cellmate Manny holding up an iPad with that day's SFist displayed on the screen.
Wright, panicked by the threats, immediately sets about assembling a crack crime team to do the job. First, he tracks down "Ace," an expert at social engineering and surveillance, to scout the location and help him plan. Ace will be played by Rooney Mara.
The Professor and Ace then track down "Wheels," the best car man they know. Wheels says he's out of the game and he's gone straight as a salesman on an Infiniti lot in Fremont. He's wearing a short sleeve shirt with a tie when they find him and will be played by Jake Gyllenhaal.
Wheels turns down the offer until The Professor explains that they're holding Franco, who saved Wheels' life one time when a complicated scheme went bad in Sparks, Nevada. Wheels realizes he can't abandon his friend and agrees to help.
Wheels steals a couple of cars to use. Meanwhile, Ace scouts the location and devises the plan - Operation Brute Force. Instead of trying to circumvent Wells Fargo's elaborate security, why not just drive right into the door? "Like a McDonalds drive-through," she says. "Except the nuggets are GOLD, not chicken." [Pause for audience laughter]
Everyone signs off on the plan. On the appointed night, Wheels drives the car into the bank and the crew seizes the nugget display and flees in another car Wheels has stolen and placed nearby.
As the crew examine the nugget display, Ace notices something on the back - the map. The Professor calls on a trusted ally at Berkeley who reveals the truth about the heist.
The Professor sets up an exchange with "G" but things go awry and "G" gets shot. Hoping to send a message to The Associates, the crew chop up "G"s body and put it in a suitcase at the designated meeting point, 11th and Mission, with a note to The Associates.
A member of The Associates contacts The Professor and tells him they want to settle this amicably: a fair exchange of the hostages for the map. Both sides agree to meet at Fort Point to make the exchange.
The night of the exchange is rainy and mist swirls around the fort. The Professor catches a glimpse of Manny tied up in one of the rooms, briefly illuminated by a flash of lightning. Things go wrong and there is a shootout, which culminates in The Professor and the lead Associate fighting it out along the rickety wooden decks of the fort. Finally, The Professor gets the upper hand, and held at gunpoint, the lead Associate agrees to split the treasure.
Everyone heads to the mine and, following the map, explore the twisting rock tunnels until they locate the vault where the treasure is supposed to be. Instead of the treasure, they find only a yellowed piece of paper saying "On deposit - Wells Fargo & Co. - One Treasure. Signed, Henry Wells." The treasure has long since disappeared.
The last shot is The Professor, Wheels, and Ace having a drink together at Specs when The Professor's phone buzzes. "A job?" he says. He looks over at Wheels and Ace. "Yeah, we might be interested in a job."
(Thanks to periqueblend for help during the development process.)