United Artists Entertainment has announced that Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects, Valkyrie) will write and produce The Champions and The Monster of Florence. Tom Cruise praised McQuarrie saying, “Chris is a remarkable talent who always brings a valuable perspective to the table. We are thrilled to be working with him on both projects.” On “Monster,” McQuarrie is teamed with producers Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen. Together they optioned “Monster” based on an excerpt from the book in 2006. The book eventually rose to #3 on the New York Times Best-seller list for non-fiction.
The Monster of Florence concerns a true series of incredible events from author Douglas Preston’s life. Shortly after moving his family to Italy in 2000, Preston learned that an olive grove on their property had been the scene of a brutal murder. Teaming with Italian journalist Mario Spezi, Preston began investigating the crime, which was part of a series of eight double homicides between 1968-1985. The pair became embroiled in a web of intrigue that grew all the more sinister when they themselves were implicated by the authorities for the slayings.
McQuarrie sees the film as an opportunity to tell the story of a writer, not a serial killer. “‘The Monster of Florence’ is a surreal account of two writers opening a proverbial Pandora’s box with their research. They witness first hand how the misguided good intentions of others allow evil to flourish, eventually becoming a part of the story themselves.”
Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen are the Academy Award © winning producers of American Beauty as well as the upcoming Milk.
United Artists Chief Operating Officer, Elliott Kleinberg, echoed Cruise’s enthusiasm for both projects; “Chris McQuarrie is a uniquely gifted artist. We look forward to continuing our long and productive partnership with Chris.”
McQuarrie is writing The Champions with fellow writer/producer Guillermo del Toro. Based on the 1968-69 British TV series, The Champions follows the adventures of a team of secret government agents who are rescued from a Himalayan plane crash by an advanced civilization and given superhuman abilities.
A lifelong fan of the original television series, United Artists President of Production, Don Granger, observed, “‘The Champions’ is not just a strong concept with serious franchise potential, we believe that with Chris and Guillermo’s combined creative vision it can be an incredibly original film.”
Chris McQuarrie felt the source material was too strong and the opportunity to work with Del Toro too great to pass up. “‘Champions’ is a great premise with fascinating potential, I wanted to be involved from the moment Guillermo and I first discussed it.”
Tom Cruise and Paula Wagner are also producing.