There have been a number of famous literary hoaxes that have stunned the world, but none is quite as weird as the story of JT Leroy. After making an impressive debut with his book, Sarah, Leroy rose to stardom with his non-fiction best-seller, The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things. The author became known for tackling tough, edgy subjects, and when he started making public appearances he was gravitated to by the celebrity elite. But it was all an unfathomably scam, and the story of the JT Leroy hoax is about to become a movie with some huge names attached.
Kristen Stewart, James Franco, and Helena Bonham Carter are set to star in JT Leroy, which will be written and directed by Justin Kelly, who worked with Franco on on the still-unreleased gay drama I Am Michael (which is excellent, by the way). The story will be based on the memoir by Savannah Knoop, who portrayed JT Leroy when making public appearances. But wait, why would someone else need to pretend to be Leroy in public? Because Leroy was revealed to be the fictional creation of author Laura Albert, who used it to say things she felt she couldn't say as herself.
The deception went so deep that Asia Argento, who would direct an adaptation of The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things, believed she was in a relationship with Leroy. That relationship is at the heart of Kelly's film, with Stewart taking on the role of Knoop and Carter as Albert. No word on who would play Argento (why not just ask her to do it?) or what Franco's role is.
So this was pretty wild stuff, the kind of story that seems made for Hollywood to tell. [THR/Vulture]