Leto previously helmed the documentary “Artifact,” which won an award at the 2012 Toronto Film Festival. He has also directed numerous music videos and commercials under the pseudonym Bartholomew Cubbins.
The “Suicide Squad” actor will direct from from an original screenplay by “L.A. Confidential” author James Ellroy with revisions by David Matthews (“Narcos,” “Boardwalk Empire”).
The story, set in politically charged 1974 Los Angeles, centers around two police officers who team up to recover kidnapped heiress Patty Hearst while simultaneously investigating the brutal murder of a fellow officer. They uncover not only relentless corruption and crime but a dark and violent conspiracy as well.
Hearst hid out in Los Angeles that year with her kidnappers from the Symbionese Liberation Army but managed to escape before six SLA members were gunned down in a shootout with the LAPD. She remained on the lam for more than a year before being captured.
The film will be produced by writer/producer Dick Wolf and Tony Ganz of Wolf Films. Leto is also producing. Emma Ludbrook is the executive producer. Leto and Ludbrook work under their company Paradox.
Leto, who won a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for “Dallas Buyers Club,” will next be seen in “Blade Runner 2049” opposite Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling.