Known For: The Lost City of Z

Big Number: 6 magazine articles optioned for film

The New Yorker staff writer is proving that magazine articles can be just as fertile terrain as books when it comes to film development. Six of his longform pieces, which take between three and 12 months to report and write, are in the works around town, including "The Yankee Comandante" at Focus, with George Clooney attached to direct; "A Murder Foretold," with Matt Damon helming a Chris Terrio script; "The Old Man and the Gun," with Robert Redford; "True Crimes," with Christoph Waltz attached; and "The Brand," from Boys Don't Cry director Kimberly Peirce. "One of the nice things about The New Yorker is, they let you write stories that sometimes end up almost half a book," says Grann, 47, who lives in Westchester County, N.Y., with his wife and two children. Grann's only full-length book, the best-seller The Lost City of Z, is moving forward at Paramount. Brad Pitt is out as the film's star (his Plan B is still producing), but Benedict Cumberbatch is in. When Grann, who joined the magazine in 2003, is writing, he says he's unaware of a story's cinematic potential: "I don't think about the translation much. I really just choose stories that are compelling, have interesting trends and characters and hopefully say something larger about society."

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