Writer-director to adapt nonfiction adventure

Paramount has set “We Own the Night” helmer James Gray to direct “The Lost City of Z.” Gray will adapt the David Grann book for Brad Pitt to star in as British soldier and spy Percy Fawcett.

The nonfiction book by Grann, a staffer at the New Yorker, will be published in April by Doubleday. Paramount acquired it earlier this year for Pitt to produce through his Par-based Plan B banner (Daily Variety, April 1).

Fawcett left Victorian society to explore in the Amazon, and he became obsessed by the idea of an advanced civilization he called Z, which he believed existed in the depths of the jungle. Along with his son, Fawcett headed into the jungle in 1925 in search of Z and was never seen again.

“This is a terrific opportunity to do something entirely different for me,” Gray said. “It is a story that will be told with an epic scale, with a main character who is larger than life.”

Gray most recently helmed “Two Lovers,” starring Joaquin Phoenix and Gwyneth Paltrow, which will be released by Magnolia Pictures in February.

Par releases Pitt starrer “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” on Christmas Day.

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