George Clooney Attached to Star in THE MONSTER OF FLORENCE Adaptation

     January 4, 2011

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George Clooney is attached to star in Fox 2000’s adaptation of The Monster of Florence, the best-selling book by Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi.  Following a move to Italy, Preston his new home was near the site of two of the murders by the serial killer known as “The Monster of Florence.”  Preston joined forces with Spezi to learn more about the decades-old case, but their investigation was unwelcomed by the local police — the force tapped Preston’s phone and threw Spezi in jail.

Clooney will play Preston, and produce alongside Grant Heslov, Dan Jinks, and Bruce Cohen.  Christopher McQuarrie is writing the screenplay with his Valkyrie co-writer Nathan Alexander.  Hit the jump for a brief history on the path of The Monster of Florence from page to screen, plus a synopsis.

According to THR, Tom Cruise acquired the film rights as producer and potential star shortly after the book was published in 2008.  He brought McQuarrie on board as writer and producer at United Artists.  The project stalled and eventually went into turnaround at United Artists, so McQuarrie, Jinks, and Cohen brought Florence to Clooney and Heslov for their Smoke House Productions banner.  Deadline reports this package was pitched to Fox 2000 just before the holidays, who was eager enough to get the ink on the dotted line before Christmas. the-monster-of-florence-book-cover

I’m feeling shades of All the President’s Men, so I’m very curious to see who they get to play Spezi.  Will they go for a native Italian?  Collider readers from Italy: any suggestions?

Here’s the synopsis for The Monster of Florence:

In 2000, Douglas Preston fulfilled a dream to move his family to Italy. Then he discovered that the olive grove in front of their 14th century farmhouse had been the scene of the most infamous double-murders in Italian history, committed by a serial killer known as the Monster of Florence. Preston, intrigued, meets Italian investigative journalist Mario Spezi to learn more. This is the true story of their search for–and identification of–the man they believe committed the crimes, and their chilling interview with him. And then, in a strange twist of fate, Preston and Spezi themselves become targets of the police investigation. Preston has his phone tapped, is interrogated, and told to leave the country. Spezi fares worse: he is thrown into Italy’s grim Capanne prison, accused of being the Monster of Florence himself. Like one of Preston’s thrillers, The Monster Of Florence, tells a remarkable and harrowing story involving murder, mutilation, and suicide-and at the center of it, Preston and Spezi, caught in a bizarre prosecutorial vendetta. [Amazon]

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