Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Project: Kristen to star in biopic "JT Leroy"

Update (23 June): Global News Canada announce a casting call for 'JT' in Winnipeg with production to start 17 July and to end on 21 August.

Update (15 June): Production Weekly (via TeamK_1) production to start on 17 July until August 2017 in Winnipeg, Canada.

Update (16 May): Deadline 

Diane Kruger has joined the cast of Justin Kelly’s JT Leroy, the feature film based on the true story of a pair of woman who created the persona of a boy-wonder author, fooling the literary community, the fashion world, and the Hollywood elite for six years before the hoax was finally revealed.

Kristen Stewart early on boarded the project to play Savannah Knoop, who dressed up as Leroy who was a fabrication of writer Laura Albert, Knoop’s sister in law. Laura Dern is set to play Albert, while Kruger will play Eva, a French actress who brings JT to Paris, falls for him, then helps turn his life story into a film.

Production is set to begin in July on the pic, adapted from Knoop’s book; there was also a documentary, Jeff Feuerzeig’s Author: The JT Leroy Story, which bowed at Sundance 2016.

Fortitude International is selling the feature film at the Cannes Film Festival beginning this week. Cassian Elwes is financing and producing with Mark Amin’s Sobini Films, LBI Entertainment’s Julie Yorn and Patrick Walmsley, and Thirty Three Management’s Thor Bradwel. Fortitude’s Nadine de Barros, Sobini’ Cami Winikoff and Tyler Boehm, and Gary Pearl are executive producers.

Update (26 April): Production Weekly (via TeamK_1 ) has a new production start date of 10 July.

Update (March 2017): THR Laura Dern is in talks to star as Laura Albert with Kristen in the JT Leroy biopic. 

Please note: This means that Helena Bonham Carter is no longer attached to the project. 

THR Kristen Stewart, James Franco and Helena Bonham Carter are circling the biopic JT Leroy, a Hollywood-set transgender story.

Justin Kelly, who directed James Franco in 2015's I Am Michael, will helm the film from a script he wrote. The true story goes behind the scenes of the hoax of JT LeRoy, a woman who pretended to be a man who identifies as transgender, tricking the rich and famous in Hollywood, the fashion world and elite literary circles.

The biopic will be based on memoir and life rights of Savannah Kroop, who was behind the complicated ruse. LBI Entertainment, Aquarius and Rabbit Bandini Productions are producing with Aquarius providing equity financing.

Franco is attached while Stewart and Carter are currently in negotiations. Fortitude International will launch the project to foreign buyers at Berlin's European Film Market, with a 2016 production start date planned. CAA is repping domestic rights.

Kelly is no stranger to bringing fascinating real-life tales to the big screen. I am Michael, which was based on New York Times Magazine article My Ex-Gay Friend, centered on a man, Michael Glatze, a gay activist who renounced homosexuality after he became a Christian pastor. It screened at both Sundance and Berlin in 2015. He's repped by CAA and LBI Entertainment.

Following up her strong performances in 2014 films Clouds of Sils Maria and Still Alice, Stewart was most recently seen in American Ultra with Jesse Eisenberg, Equals (which premiered in Toronto) with Nicholas Hoult and Kelly Reichardt’s Certain Women, which premiered at Sundance. Her other upcoming projects include Woody Allen’s next feature, Ang Lee’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk and reuniting with director Olivier Assayas for Personal Shopper. She’s repped by Gersh and McKuin Frankel Whitehead.

Franco will star in the Hulu TV miniseries 11.22.63, and his other upcoming work includes The Disaster Artist, which he directed and stars in as Room director  Tommy Wiseau. He also directed and stars in The Long Home, which also features Josh Hartnett, Josh Hutcherson and Ashton Kutcher. The always-busy actor-director will soon shoot Why Him?, a comedy also starring Bryan Cranston and Zoey Deutch. He’s repped by CAA, Untitled Entertainment and Sloane, Offer.

Carter starred in Suffragette and Cinderella and next will be seen in Disney’s Alice Through the Looking Glass. She’s also attached to Sony’s 55 Steps. She’s repped by WME and MGMT Entertainment.

Tweets by NY Magazine/Vulture senior editor, Kyle Buchanan:

  • I've got more info: HBC would play hoaxer Laura Albert, Kristen Stewart is circling Savannah Knoop (who posed as JT).
  • Knoop also co-wrote the script with writer-director Justin Kelly. And Franco is playing HBC's husband.
  • Here's the fun part: The film's central romance is between KStew's character and the actress Asia Argento. But who will they cast as Asia?
  • In real life, Asia Argento had an affair with JT Leroy... though really, she was sleeping with Savannah posing as JT. It was complicated!

Variety  Kristen Stewart and Helena Bonham Carter are in talks to join James Franco in “JT LeRoy,” a behind-the-scenes look at the story of the literary hoax.

Justin Kelly, who directed Franco in “I Am Michael,” will direct the film from his own script, based on the memoir and life rights of Savannah Kroop, who was identified in 2006 as the person who portrayed JT LeRoy — a woman who pretended to be a man who identifies as transgender, tricking the rich and famous in Hollywood, the fashion world and elite literary circles.

LBI Entertainment, Aquarius and Franco’s Rabbit Bandini Productions are producing, while Aquarius is providing equity financing. International rights are being sold at the Berlin Film Festival by Fortitude International.

Producers are planning on starting to shoot this summer.

Amazon acquired the documentary “Author: The J.T. Leroy” at the Sundance Film Festival last month. The film looks at how Laura Albert, a San Francisco punk rocker and phone sex operator, created JT Leroy.

“I Am Michael” centered on Michael Glatze, a gay activist who renounced homosexuality after he became a Christian pastor.

Stewart was most recently seen in Kelly Reichardt’s “Certain Women,” which premiered at Sundance.

From left to right: The real JT Leroy 'played' by Savannah Knoop, Geoff Knoop and Laura Albert.

Read more on the fascinating story of JT Leroy, Savannah Knoop & Laura Albert here from Vanity Fair.

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