Paramount, Brad Pitt find ‘Lost City’

Paramount Pictures has preemptively bought “Lost City of Z,” a David Grann manuscript about the search for a lost city in the Amazon, with Brad Pitt to produce the feature adaptation through his Plan B shingle as a potential starring vehicle.

Grann’s forthcoming nonfiction book concerns British explorer Col. Percy Harrison Fawcett, who was attempting to find the so-called City of Z when he and his party disappeared in 1925. Over the next 70 years, scores of explorers tried and failed to retrace Fawcett’s path, including a 1996 expedition of Brazilian adventurers. Pitt would play Fawcett.

Doubleday is scheduled to publish “Lost City of Z,” an expansion of Grann’s September 2005 article in the New Yorker, in February.

When Pitt expressed interest in toplining as well as producing “Lost City of Z,” Paramount moved quickly to buy it. Par previously optioned Grann’s New Yorker article “City of Water.”

Pitt, whose Plan B is based at Paramount, has a longstanding relationship with the studio and Par chief Brad Grey, a former partner in Plan B. As an actor, Pitt has two films awaiting release: the Coen brothers’ “Burn After Reading,” which Focus Features will open in September, and David Fincher’s “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” which Par will open in December. He is also attached to star in “The Fighter” for the studio. As a producer, Pitt’s next film is Rachel McAdams-Eric Bana starrer “The Time Traveler’s Wife,” set for release in November.