Par, Plan B show faith in ‘Story’

Studio wins film rights auction to Finkel story

Paramount believes in Michael Finkel’s upcoming “True Story,” setting up the mystery-thriller with Brad Pitt’s Plan B shingle and signing Kevin MacDonald to direct.

Studio won the auction for film rights to Finkel’s story of being fired from the New York Times for falsifying parts of a profile of young boys working on West African cocoa plantations. He then formed a bond with murder suspect Christian Longo, who had stolen Finkel’s identity and was hiding under the name Michael Finkel in Mexico when he was arrested for the murders of his family.

No writers or actors have been attached to “True Story.” Plan B execs Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner will produce. Paramount co-prexy of production Alli Shearmur and VP Matt Jackson will oversee for the studio.

An excerpt from “True Story” recently appeared in Vanity Fair. Finkel was dismissed from the Times in early 2002, three months after the paper’s Sunday magazine ran his profile about an African teen who did not exist.

Plan B is expected to sign a producing deal at Paramount. The future of the Warner-based shingle has remained uncertain since Brad Grey exited to take the top job at Par.

When Grey took over as studio chief in March, he set up the star-driven drama “Babel” with Pitt, Cate Blanchett and Gael Garcia Bernal starring. That project’s produced by Anonymous Content chief Steve Golin and Jon Kilik.

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