The Plain Dealer is reporting Matt Damon has been cast as Eliot Ness in Paramount Pictures’ adaptation of Brian Michael Bendis’ and Marc Andreyko’s graphic novel Torso.
The story centers on Cleveland’s Torso/Kingsbury Run slayings in which at least 13 people were slaughtered between 1934 and 1938. The serial slayings took place while Ness was city safety director. The mysterious killer received the nickname Torso because he left only the torsos of his victims. Without dental records or fingerprint analysis, the victims were difficult to identify in an age before DNA testing. To this day, the killings remain unsolved.
In addition to the supposed casting of a heavyweight like Damon, The Plain Dealer is also reporting Paramount is currently negotiating with city officials to bring the production to Cleveland, only if, however, the studio can secure the all-important tax incentives to help put a dent in the film’s budget.
Producer Bill Mechanic was quoted as saying the following:
“It all comes down to what’s the best place to get our movie shot for the least money,” Mechanic said. “We want to shoot the entire movie, the interior and exterior shots, in Cleveland because that’s where the action takes place and so we wouldn’t have to relocate the crew. But without incentives, it doesn’t look like we can afford it.”
Mechanic went on to say if the studio can’t secure the said incentives the production will most likely have to shoot interiors in Detroit, Michigan, with only streetscapes in Cleveland used for exteriors; Michigan just passed legislation giving filmmakers a nation-leading 40 percent rebate on their costs to do business in the state and 42 percent if the movie is shot in so-called distressed cities such as Detroit.
Last I heard the project was in limbo, with the current draft penned by Ehren Kruger (The Skeleton Key, Arlington Road), but I couldn’t tell you if his draft is the shooting draft or not.
Even more interesting is the fact David Fincher (Seven, Zodiac) was attached to helm the project at one point. As Devin mentioned earlier this week, Fincher’s relationship is a little shaky with Paramount these days in regards to The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, his latest effort, which he did under their umbrella. Fincher’s name didn’t come up once in the article, so it’s anyone’s guess at this point if he’s still on board.
Meanwhile, it looks like this long-in-development project is finally moving ahead one way or another.