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.
Written and to be directed by Justin Kelly (I Am Michael, King Cobra), based on the book ‘Girl Boy Girl : How I Became JT Leroy’ written by Savannah Knoop.
Starring Kristen Stewart (Still Alice, Clouds of Sils Maria) and James Franco (Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Oz The Great and Powerful) ***ADDITIONAL CAST TO BE ANNOUNCED***
Produced by LBI Entertainment (Ride Along, We Bought A Zoo) and Aquarius (Jane the Virgin)
Genre : Biopic
Logline : This captivating true story goes behind the scenes of the hoax of JT Leroy – a girl pretending to be a boy who identifies as transgender, during the rich and famous in Hollywood, the fashion world, and elite literary circles.
Synopsis : Who is JT Leroy ? In January 2006, the New York Times revealed that the teenage boy who rocketed to fame after his books about his troubled youth captured the worl’ds attention was actually the creation of two women. JT LEROY is the true, inside story of the literary hoax of a generation; and an intimate look at two women leading a bizarre and intertwined double life for six years. LAURA ALBERT is a thirty something author and musician who wrote and corresponded as JT. SAVANNAH KNOOP (STEWART) is a college student and Laura’s sister-in-law who plays the role of JT in public. Together with JEFF (FRANCO), Laura’s boyfriend and Savannah’s brother, they invent JT’s persona and continue the deception past the point of no return. JT is embraced by celebrities, artists, fans and critics while the women struggle to discover who they really are while pretending to be someone else.
Status : SPP March 2016.
Vanity Fair : Several weeks after a triumphant premiere at Sundance, Kristen Stewart is reportedly lining up her next drama—a fascinating project which would put the César-winning actress at the center of the most famous literary hoax in recent memory. The drama will tackle J.T. Leroy, the fictional male author who managed to dupe the literary, Hollywood, and fashion scenes for about a decade.
Helena Bonham Carter and James Franco are also circling roles in the behind-the-scenes retelling of the bizarre hoax, according to The Hollywood Reporter. For those unfamiliar with the stranger-than-fiction story, a 17-year-old transgender novelist named J.T. Leroy shocked the literary scene in 1997 with graphic autobiographical tales of the disturbing physical and sexual abuse he suffered, detailed in several books. An elusive figure, Leroy made occasional public appearances in Hollywood—befriending Carrie Fisher and, over e-mail, Madonna—and scored movie deals before it was discovered that Leroy was actual the fictional creation of Laura Albert, a middle-aged writer who had invented the character and written his books, and Savannah Knoop, a twentysomething aspiring clothes designer who made public appearances as Leroy in a wig, sunglasses, and whisper-y voice.
Vulture further reports that Stewart is considering the role of Savannah Knoop—the character who posed publicly as the fictional transgender author—with Carter eye-ing the role of J.T. Leroy mastermind Laura Albert. Franco would complete the trio by playing Geoffrey Knoop—Laura’s beau and Savannah’s older brother.
The biopic, which follows a critically-acclaimed Sundance documentary on the subject, will be based on the memoir and life rights of Savannah Kroop, and directed by Justin Kelly, who directed Franco in 2015’s I Am Michael.