Tom Cruise

Theo Wargo/

Apparently there's nothing like a good killing spree to get Tom Cruise going.

The actor and his United Artists have snapped up the rights to The Monster of Florence as a potential starring vehicle, according to Variety.

Based on the true-crime thriller by Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi, the book chronicles a three-decade spate of serial murders in the cradle of the Renaissance that served as the inspiration to another big-screen bloodbath, Hannibal.

Preston and Spezi are quoted in the Italian daily Corriere della Sera saying Christopher McQuarrie (who wrote Cruise's forthcoming Valkyrie) will adapt and that Cruise will decide whether to star after giving the script a once-over.

In other Hollywood casting action:

  • Denzel Washington is entering Will Smith territory, signing on to star in the postapocalyptic Book of Eli helmed by Allen and Albert Hughes (From Hell). Per Variety, Washington plays a lone-wolf hero who must battle his way across America to save society. Cameras roll in January.
  • Two weeks into shooting, Robert De Niro has abruptly dropped out of the conspiracy thriller Edge of DarknessMel Gibson's first starring role since 2002's Signs— forcing producers to have to recast a pivotal part. De Niro's rep blames "creative differences," telling Variety "sometimes things don't work out." Martin Campbell's expected to shoot around De Niro's scenes until a sub can be called in.
  • Paul Walker and Hayden Christensen are set to topline Bone Deep, about a group of bank robbers whose $20 million heist is rudely interrupted by a hard-boiled cop. Walker will play the lead crook and Christensen a rookie detective; Matt Dillon previously signed on as the veteran detective on the case. Also on board: Idris Elba, R&B star Chris Brown and rapper T.I.
  • Arrested Development fans rejoice. Per the Hollywood Reporter, Mitch Hurwitz, creator of the dysfunctional Bluth clan, is headed back to the tube with an untitled CBS comedy starring American Pie's Jason Biggs, centering on adult siblings and their parents who are way too involved in each other's lives.
  • L.A. Law alum Harry Hamlin is joining the cast of CBS' midseason serial horror drama Harper's Island, about a group of friends terrorized at a wedding on an island off the coast of Seattle. The thesp will play the groom's womanizing uncle, replacing Bill Pullman, who played the part in the pilot.
  • Finally, Broadway actors Matthew Morrison and Lea Michele are up for some Glee, Nip/Tuck mastermind Ryan Murphy's new hourlong comedy series about a Spanish teacher in Ohio who runs the high school's glee club. Each episode will feature four musical numbers. It's gotta be better than Cop Rock, right?
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