Fox 2000 has closed a deal that turns the bestselling crime book The Monster of Florence into a star vehicle for George Clooney. Christopher McQuarrie and Nathan Alexander are aboard to write the script. Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen of the Jinks/Cohen Company will produce with Smokehouse’s Grant Heslov, and McQuarrie.

Clooney will play Douglas Preston, who wrote the nonfiction bestseller The Monster of Florence with Italian crime reporter Mario Spezi. Preston is a thriller writer who met Spezi after moving to Italy. Together, they set out to solve a 30-year old serial murder case. Seven couples were savagely murdered between 1974 and 1985 while they sat in cars parked just outside Florence. The trail was cold when Preston moved into a nearby farmhouse and began asking questions. By that time, suspects had been let go, and authorities didn’t welcome the curiosity of the writer. They threw Spezi in jail and interrogated Preston. Finally, the sleuths began putting the pieces into place and solved the murder.

The project was pitched to Fox 2000’s Carla Hacken just before the holiday. She and president Elizabeth Gabler got excited enough to seal the deal just before Christmas. The producers had post-holiday meetings set around town, but they proved unnecessary and were canceled. For Clooney, this is another opportunity to make a movie in Italy, which has become his second home. Clooney is directing and starring in The Ides of March, and then joins Sandra Bullock in the Alfonso Cuaron-directed Gravity.  CAA repped the book deal.