Story based on upcoming Playboy article

William Monahan will pen a fact-based thriller for Paramount based on an article that will appear in Playboy later this year.

It’s the story of a drug dealer who traded a prison sentence to go undercover at a maximum security hospital for the criminally insane, where he tried to get a serial killer to divulge the whereabouts of his victims.

Graham King will produce with Alexandra Milchan, and the Par project kicks off a first-look deal that King’s GK Films has made with Monahan, who will take an office in King’s new Santa Monica HQ. Joel Gotler will be exec producer.

King was introduced to the project by Milchan, who had received a one-page proposal for the article by Jim Keene and writer Hillel Levin.

The son of a police chief, Keene fell from grace after he was caught dealing drugs. As an alternative to a 10 years-to-life sentence, he was allowed to cozy up to a man authorities believed murdered 25 young women. Only the prison psychiatrist knew Keene was undercover, plus a visiting “girlfriend” who was actually an FBI agent.

“We really connected on ‘The Departed,’ and it’ll be fantastic to have a writer of Bill’s caliber in the office every day, not just to write, but to bounce ideas off,” King said. “When I told Bill this incredible story I’d bought, he said, ‘I’ve already got the movie in my head.'”

Monahan followed “The Departed” by scripting the Ridley Scott-directed Warner Brothers thriller “Body of Lies,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe. He just wrote the thriller “Nothing in the World” and recently signed to adapt the remake of hit Korean film “The Chaser” for WB.

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