In True Story James Franco plays an FBI-wanted killer who takes on the identity of a disgraced journalist, played by Jonah Hill.
The first trailer for the film, premiering exclusively on Yahoo Movies, reflects all of the markings of a thorny thriller rivaling the likes of Gone Girl. The thing is, unlike Girl, this plot really happened, as its title plainly states.
The movie is based on Michael Finkel’s 2005 autobiographical tome True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa, and follows him (depicted by Hill) as he falls from grace at The New York Times. After intentionally fabricating portions of a story about impoverished teenagers in the jungles of West Africa, Finkel gets the axe. (In case you haven’t heard of his real-life journalism blunder, it’s because it was a footnote in the news cycle, happening a week prior to the much-covered Jayson Blair plagiarism scandal.) "It’s an isolated incident, without question a wrong decision," Finkel told New York magazine (via Slate).
Christian Longo, left, and Michael Finkel
From there the story gets truly weird. Finkel discovers a man named Christian Longo (Franco), imprisoned for allegedly killing his wife and three children, has used Finkel’s name as an alias — and no one can figure out why. Finkel gets drawn into the case, eventually corresponding with the man who stole the journalist’s identity.
Strangely, the two men were in a position to benefit from each other. As Finkel wrote in a letter to Longo (via The New York Times): ”At the same time that you were using my name, I lost my own,” Finkel wrote. ”I am sort of seeking to find out who I really am.”
With Finkel’s questionable credibility, some may be left to wonder how much of True Story is ultimately true.
Also starring Felicity Jones, True Story will open in theaters April 10.
Meanwhile, here is an exclusive look at the film’s poster.
Photo: Oregonlive.com/ Random House, Fox Searchlight