'True Story' finds James Franco and Jonah Hill turning from comedy to chilling drama

Hill takes on the role of New York Times reporter Michael Finkel, who discovers that criminal Christian Longo is posing as the journalist. The movie opens on April 17.

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
James Franco, a cast member in 'I Am Michael,' poses at the premiere of the film during the 2015 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.

Moviegoers may remember actors James Franco and Jonah Hill working together on the 2013 film “This Is the End,” but their upcoming movie is a far cry from that comedy. 

Franco and Hill star in the movie “True Story,” which, as indicated by the title, is based on the true events involving Michael Finkel, a former New York Times reporter (Hill), and convicted murderer Christian Longo (Franco). Before he was arrested for his crimes, Longo posed as Finkel. Longo was on the FBI’s list of most wanted criminals. Finkel wrote a book titled “True Story” about his experiences.

The movie is directed by Rupert Goold, who previously helmed an episode of the miniseries “The Hollow Crown,” and co-stars Gretchen Mol of “Boardwalk Empire” as well as Felicity Jones, who was recently nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for her work in the 2014 film “The Theory of Everything.” 

Both Hill and Franco are also Oscar nominees – Franco earned a Best Actor nod for his work in the 2010 movie “127 Hours,” while Hill received Best Supporting Actor nominations for his appearances in the 2011 movie “Moneyball” and the 2013 film “The Wolf of Wall Street.” 

Screenwriter David Kajganich told the NYT that he believes the movie handles the murders of Longo’s wife and children, which Longo was convicted of committing, in the best way possible. 

“Writing this story in any way that would intentionally minimize or sensationalize their deaths is not something I could have agreed to, and avoiding those two scenarios was a factor in every narrative choice I made,” he said. 

Meanwhile, Franco said of portraying Longo, “You always try not to judge the [people you play], but I found it so hard with this character,” according to the Wall Street Journal

“True Story” will be released on April 17. 

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