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Justin Kelly, who directed James Franco in 2015’s I Am Michael, will helm the film from a script he wrote. The true story goes behind the scenes of the hoax of JT LeRoy, a woman who pretended to be a man who identifies as transgender, tricking the rich and famous in Hollywood, the fashion world and elite literary circles.
The biopic will be based on memoir and life rights of Savannah Kroop, who was behind the complicated ruse. LBI Entertainment, Aquarius and Rabbit Bandini Productions are producing, with Aquarius providing equity financing.
Franco is attached while Stewart and Carter are currently in negotiations. Fortitude International will launch the project to foreign buyers at Berlin’s European Film Market, with a 2016 production start date planned. CAA is repping domestic rights.
Kelly is no stranger to bringing fascinating real-life tales to the big screen. I Am Michael, which was based on the New York Times Magazine article “My Ex-Gay Friend,” centered on a man, Michael Glatze, a gay activist who renounced homosexuality after he became a Christian pastor. It screened at both Sundance and Berlin in 2015. Kelly is repped by CAA and LBI Entertainment.
Following up her strong performances in 2014 films Clouds of Sils Maria and Still Alice, Stewart was most recently seen in American Ultra with Jesse Eisenberg, Equals (which premiered in Toronto) with Nicholas Hoult and Kelly Reichardt’s Certain Women, which premiered at Sundance. Her other upcoming projects include Woody Allen’s next feature, Ang Lee’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk and reuniting with director Olivier Assayas for Personal Shopper. She is repped by Gersh and McKuin Frankel Whitehead.
Franco will star in the Hulu miniseries 11.22.63, and his other upcoming work includes The Disaster Artist, which he directed and stars in as The Room director Tommy Wiseau. Franco also directed and stars in The Long Home, which also features Josh Hartnett, Josh Hutcherson and Ashton Kutcher. The always-busy multihyphenate will soon shoot Why Him?, a comedy co-starring Bryan Cranston and Zoey Deutch. Franco is repped by CAA, Untitled Entertainment and Sloane, Offer.
Carter starred in Suffragette and Cinderella and next will be seen in Disney’s Alice Through the Looking Glass. She is also attached to Sony’s 55 Steps. Carter is repped by WME and MGMT Entertainment.
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Sterling K. Brown