The Weinstein Co. is teaming with “Stay” producer Tom Lassally to bring a biopic of fictitious author J.T. Leroy to the bigscreen based on a trio of articles by New York Times scribe Warren St. John.
Jesse Peretz, who helmed TWC’s upcoming “Fast Track,” is attached to direct from a script by Captain Mauzner. The scribe penned the mini-major’s upcoming “Factory Girl.”
St. John last month broke the story that Leroy — an alleged HIV-positive teen street hustler-turned-lit sensation — was actually the invention of musician and writer Laura Albert, and that Leroy’s public appearances were made by a young woman named Savannah Knoop.
St. John had initially interviewed Leroy 16 months ago without realizing the author’s true identity. The scribe exposed Albert’s hoax in his next two pieces on Leroy by following up on a Stephen Beachy New York magazine piece that raised questions about the author’s identity.
Over a number of years, Albert’s ruse won her creation, Leroy’s work, a cadre of celeb backers, from Winona Ryder to Courtney Love. Leroy’s gritty fictional works — including “Sarah” and “The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things” — supposedly drew on the author’s real life as a cross-dressing teen prostitute from West Virginia.
A bigscreen adaptation of the Leroy tome “The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things,” directed and starring Asia Argento, is set to open this week. That film was penned by Albert under the Leroy identity.
UTA is packaging the Leroy pic, and no cast has yet been set.
Michael Cole and Kelly Carmichael will oversee project for TWC.
St. John is also the author of “Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer: A Journey Into the Heart of Fan Mania,” about obsessive football fans.
TWC optioned the articles directly from the Times.