Brian De Palma to helm 'Stranglers'

Adapted from Susan Kelly's nonfiction book

Brian De Palma has long had a thing for the notorious.

The "Scarface" director has signed on to helm "The Boston Stranglers" for producer Gale Anne Hurd's Valhalla Motion Pictures.

The film is adapted by Alan Rosen ("Head of the Class") from Susan Kelly's nonfiction book "The Boston Stranglers: The Public Conviction of Albert DeSalvo and the True Story of Eleven Shocking Murders."

The thriller will detail the early-'60s Beantown killings and their controversial resolution.

Hurd will produce, and Kevin Kelly Brown will exec produce.

De Palma similarly plumbed real-life-derived atrocities in "Casualties of War," "Redacted" and "The Black Dahlia."

The Strangler case continues to stir debate. Many question whether Albert DeSalvo -- a publicity hound who confessed to the murders and was later stabbed to death while incarcerated on unrelated charges -- was the actual killer.

The murders were the basis of a 1968 movie that starred Tony Curtis as DeSalvo and Henry Fonda as the detective pursuing him. That version was based on an earlier book by Gerold Frank. Several TV and DVD movies have been derived from the events.

Valhalla and Hurd produced "The Incredible Hulk" for Marvel and Universal, which will release the film June 13.

De Palma has been the writer and/or director of "The Untouchables," "Carlito's Way" and "Dressed to Kill," but his recent films have underperformed. His last hit was "Mission: Impossible" in 1996. He is repped by ICM.