Brad Pitt producing reporter's fake-fed story

Thu Nov 20, 2008 1:36am EST
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By Jay A. Fernandez and Borys Kit

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Paramount is getting behind the power of the press. The studio has picked up the life rights of Missouri journalist Linda Trest, who helped break open the cover of a drug-busting con man.

Brad Pitt's studio-based production company, Plan B, is developing the project with "Troy" writer David Benioff. Screenwriters Anthony Walton and Andrew Dresher (Universal's "How to Love a Republican") have been brought on board to script a film inspired by her story.

The 51-year-old Trest was a reporter for the Gasconade County Republican in Gerald, Mo., when she began hearing stories about a federal agent nicknamed "Sergeant Bill" who was rousting people from their homes. Since Gerald had been ravaged by methamphetamine abuse, local law enforcement was happy to assist the fed's efforts to clean up the town with arrests, home searches and investigations.

The only hitch: Bill A. Jakob turned out to be just an unemployed cop and former trucking company owner from a different town with no actual law enforcement credentials. Trest eventually exposed Jakob's bizarre con.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

<p>Brad Pitt attends the "Burn After Reading" news conference during the 33rd Toronto International Film Festival September 6, 2008. REUTERS/Mark Blinch</p>