'Valkyrie' scribe will pen 'Monster,' 'Champions'

“Valkyrie” scribe Christopher McQuarrie has signed on to write and produce a pair of United Artists projects: “The Monster of Florence” and “The Champions.”

On “Monster,” McQuarrie is teaming with producers Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen (“American Beauty,” “Milk”). Together they optioned “Monster,” based on a New York Times bestseller (Daily Variety, Sept. 5).

Story chronicles a true series of events from author Douglas Preston’s life. Shortly after moving his family to Italy in 2000, Preston learned that an olive grove on their property had been the scene of a brutal murder. Teaming with Italian journalist Mario Spezi, Preston began investigating the crime, which was part of a series of eight double homicides between 1968-85. Story also spawned a 1985 Italian-language docudrama of the same name.

McQuarrie sees the project as an opportunity to tell the story of a writer, not a serial killer.

It’s a “surreal account of two writers opening a proverbial Pandora’s box with their research,” the “Usual Suspects” scribe said. “They witness first-hand how the misguided good intentions of others allow evil to flourish, eventually becoming a part of the story themselves.”

McQuarrie has also boarded “The Champions” with fellow writer-producer Guillermo del Toro. Based on the 1968-69 British TV series, “The Champions” follows the adventures of a team of secret government agents who are rescued from a Himalayan plane crash by an advanced civilization and given superhuman abilities.

McQuarrie said the source material was too strong and the opportunity to work with Del Toro too great to pass up.

“Champions” is a “great premise with fascinating potential; I wanted to be involved from the moment Guillermo and I first discussed it,” he added.

Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner are also producing.

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