Cross will be joined by Austin Francalancia, a former film exec for Open Road Films.
Penned by Harold Schechter, the book explores the life and true story of Belle Gunness, America’s most notorious female serial killer, who lured dozens of unsuspecting men into her Indiana “murder farm.” The story recounts over 28 gruesome murders she committed at the turn of the 20th century after migrating from Norway to La Porte, Ind. In search of a new life — and driven by poverty and greed — Gunness used ads in immigrant newspapers to attract victims to her farm, where their remains were later found, butchered and buried.
“Harold Schechter’s exceptional new book gives a fresh and fascinating account of one of the most compelling untold true-crime stories in American history,” Cross said. “It’s an honor to be entrusted with bringing this bizarre, labyrinthine saga to the screen.”
UTA will oversee domestic sales for the book.
“I grew up in Indiana and this story always stuck with me,” Francalancia said. “After reading Harold’s meticulously researched book, I knew Joe and I had to jump at the chance to bring America’s first Craigslist killer’s story to life.”
Judy Coppage of The Coppage Company and David Patterson of the Stuart Krichevsky Literary Agency negotiated on behalf of Schechter, and Francalancia negotiated on behalf of SERA Films.
Cross and Francalancia are repped by UTA.