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Stranger than Fiction; Jonah Hill and James Franco to Both Play Finkel in ‘True Story’

Brad Pitt’s prod co. Plan B appear to have pulled True Story from the back-burner – the book that is described as “a spellbinding tale of murder, love, and deceit with a deeply personal inquiry into the slippery nature of truth” hit store shelves in 2005 has (according to Deadline) found its cat & mouse/victim & victimizers in a pair of A-listers.

Brad Pitt’s prod co. Plan B appear to have pulled True Story from the back-burner – the book that is described as “a spellbinding tale of murder, love, and deceit with a deeply personal inquiry into the slippery nature of truth” hit store shelves in 2005 has (according to Deadline) found its cat & mouse/victim & victimizers in a pair of A-listers. Jonah Hill and James Franco would portray the infamous pairing of Michael Finkel and Christian Longo and unknown helmer Rupert Goold is assigned to the director’s chair. Team Plan B are looking for more coin and a studio before heading into what could be a production start date sometime in 2012.

Gist: This is Finkel’s story of being fired from the New York Times for falsifying parts of a profile of young boys working on West African cocoa plantations. He then formed a bond with murder suspect Christian Longo, who had stolen Finkel’s identity and was hiding under the name Michael Finkel in Mexico when he was arrested for the murders of his family.

Worth Noting: Back in 05′, the project originally had helmer Kevin MacDonald on board to direct.

Do We Care?: Finkel’s tale certainly contains strong human interest elements and we’re rooting for Hill and Franco in what could prove to be difficult roles — but the potential for a Hollywood spin on the tale (Paramount Pictures dropped the rights a while back) and an unproven director at the helm makes this a dicey proposition.

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at IONCINEMA.com, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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