By Simon Dang | The Playlist January 5, 2011 at 1:52AM
After spending time there recently shooting Anton Corbijn's anti-thriller "The American," George Clooney is set to return to Italy for another major production with the actor-producer attached to star in Fox 2000's adaptation of crime tale "Monster Of Florence."
Clooney will play the actual writer of the non-fiction story, Douglas Preston, who teams with local crime reporter Mario Spezi upon moving to Florence to try and solve a 30 year old murder mystery haunting the city. "Valkyrie" co-writers Christopher McQuarrie ("The Usual Suspects") and Nathan Alexander are on board for scripting duties after being brought on in 2008 when the project was being developed as a Tom Cruise producing and starring vehicle. Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen are now producing along side Clooney and his Smokehouse partner (and "Men Who Stare At Goats" director) Grant Heslov.
The story sounds like an interesting crime procedural set against the backdrop of Florence, a city famous for its art and architecture that will no doubt translate well on the big screen screen. But the question now is what type of talent Clooney and company will recruit for the vacant director's chair and the role of the fellow sleuth. Considering his taste for high caliber collaborators -- a quick peek at his recent filmography clearly proves this -- we have no doubt he'll bring on board the right people for the crime tale. Here's the full synopsis of Preston's novel, courtesy of Amazon.
United in their obsession with a grisly Italian serial murder case almost three decades old, thriller writer Preston (coauthor, Brimstone) and Italian crime reporter Spezi seek to uncover the identity of the killer in this chilling true crime saga. From 1974 to 1985, seven pairs of lovers parked in their cars in secluded areas outside of Florence were gruesomely murdered. When Preston and his family moved into a farmhouse near the murder sites, he and Spezi began to snoop around, although witnesses had died and evidence was missing. With all of the chief suspects acquitted or released from prison on appeal, Preston and Spezi's sleuthing continued until ruthless prosecutors turned on the nosy pair, jailing Spezi and grilling Preston for obstructing justice.
2011 is already promising to be busy year for Clooney who recently signed up to star in Alfonso Cuaron's 3D sci-fi epic "Gravity" alongside Sandra Bullock and also has his next directorial effort with political drama "The Ides Of March" which boasts a stellar cast consisting of Ryan Gosling, Paul Giamatti, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood, Jeffrey Wright and Max Minghella. The lead role in Steven Soderbergh's "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." may also be on the horizon.