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Jonah Hill and James Franco Look Unusually Serious In the ‘True Story’ Trailer

I guess my eyes have become accustomed to the sight of Jonah Hill staring with deer-like panic at comedic stupidity happening in front of him, because the actor looks almost unrecognizable to me in the trailer for True Story. Perhaps I’m simply not used to seeing him react to the camera with an expression other than delight or panic.

In True Story, Hill plays Michael Finkel, a journalist whose memoir provides the source of the film. He was fired from the New York Times in 2001 for making up news content. In December of that year, he discovered that Christian Longo (James Franco) was a fan, and had been using the name “Michael Finkel” as an alias after murdering his own family. James Franco looks like a creep here, which is probably the point, but it doesn’t help make me want to watch the movie.

The trailer teases this film as a true story of real events, framing the relationship between Longo and Finkel as one of obsession and dueling intellect. Longo convinces Finkel to tell the truth of “his side” of the story, and Finkel is pulled in by Longo’s silver tongued lies. To be honest, the trailer makes all this look intense and thrilling, but from what I read about the ‘true story’ five minutes later on Wikipedia, it sounds mostly boring with a side of weird. Expect True Story to join the long film tradition of glorifying convicts as intellectual masterminds and romanticizing crime journalism. Nope, never heard that one before.

True Story is produced by Brad Pitt and directed by Rupert Gold. The supporting cast includes Felicity Jones, Gretchen Mol, Robert John Burke, and Maria Dizzia. It’s set for release in April 2015.