UPDATED: Fox 2000 has acquired the film rights to Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi’s best-selling book The Monster of Florence, with George Clooney attached to star. Chris McQuarrie is writing the screenplay with his Valkyrie co-writer Nathan Alexander.
Clooney and Grant Heslov are producing with Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen.
In the fall of 2008, soon after the book’s publication that summer, Tom Cruise optioned rights to the project for United Artists, which he was running at the time. Cruise, who would produce and potentially star, set McQuarrie to adapt and produce.
When UA stalled amid MGM’s restructuring problems, the project went into turnaround. McQuarrie, Jinks and Cohen then took the property to Clooney and Heslov’s Smoke House Prods.
Preston and Spezi’s book is an investigation into the murderer (or murderers) known as Il Mostro, who killed more than a dozen people from the late 1960s to the mid-1980s without being caught. In the course of their digging, Preston, who had moved with his family to a villa in Florence, and Spezi, an Italian crime journalist, were themselves then investigated by the police.
CAA-repped Clooney is also preparing to direct and star in The Ides of March at Sony, followed by shooting his role in Warner Bros.’ sci-fi thriller Gravity opposite Sandra Bullock. So a fall shoot is possible. Clooney will next appear onscreen in Alexander Payne’s comedy The Descendants from Fox Searchlight in March.