Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Jonah Hill had so much fun working with fellow Oscar nominee and Moneyball producer Brad Pitt that they’re back in business on another fact-based film. Hill and James Franco are attached to star in True Story, the Rupert Goold-directed adaptation of a memoir by journalist Michael Finkel. Pitt and Dede Gardner’s Plan B is are producing.

Like Moneyball, this is another opportunity for Hill to veer from his comic persona. He will play Finkel, who was a writer at The New York Times Magazine in 2002 when he learned that Christian Longo was captured in Mexico after a long stint on the FBI Ten Most Wanted List for killing his family. The strange part was that he had been living under the identity of Finkel. The very next day, the real Finkel was fired by the editors of The Times, right after they ran an editor’s note declaring that he had falsified parts of an investigative article. His career seemed over, until Longo (who’ll be played by Franco) declared that the real Finkel was the only journalist he would talk to. That led to a surreal relationship with the accused murderer, who was trying to declare his innocence. For the real Finkel, it was an opportunity to unravel the mystery and perhaps redeem himself as a journalist.

The project, originally set up at Paramount, was given back to Plan B and has just been taken out to financiers. I’m told that a deal will be in place possibly later in the week. Hill is repped by WME and Karl Austen, Goold by WME and UK-based United Agents and Franco by CAA and Miles Levy.