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Garrett Hedlund To Star In Cary Fukunaga’s ‘The Alienist,’ John Michael McDonagh Says The Actor Is “Kind Of A Prick”

Garrett Hedlund To Star In Cary Fukunaga’s ‘The Alienist,’ John Michael McDonagh Says The Actor Is “Kind Of A Prick”

Down at SXSW to unveil his latest film “War On Everyone” (our review), director John Michael McDonagh was clearly taking that title to heart. During a Q&A about the film starring Alexander Skarsgard and Michael Pena he was asked about the casting process, and dropped this little nugget (via FilmDrunk): “We had another guy, but he was kind of a prick. Garrett Hedlund.” Okey doke. Indeed, the actor was initially cast in Skarsgard’s role, but clearly the pair didn’t get on. No matter, as Hedlund is moving onwards.

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The Wrap reports that the actor is in negotiations to join Cary Fukunaga‘s “The Alienist.” Based on Caleb Carr‘s bestseller, with a script by “Drive” writer Hossein Amini. It’s a serial killer story with that takes place right on the cusp of the 20th century, which provides a great backdrop. Here’s the book synopsis:  

The year is 1896, the place, New York City. On a cold March night New York Times reporter John Schuyler Moore is summoned to the East River by his friend and former Harvard classmate Dr. Laszlo Kreizler, a psychologist, or “alienist.” On the unfinished Williamsburg Bridge, they view the horribly mutilated body of an adolescent boy, a prostitute from one of Manhattan’s infamous brothels.

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The newly appointed police commissioner, Theodore Roosevelt, in a highly unorthodox move, enlists the two men in the murder investigation, counting on the reserved Kreizler’s intellect and Moore’s knowledge of New York’s vast criminal underworld. They are joined by Sara Howard, a brave and determined woman who works as a secretary in the police department. Laboring in secret (for alienists, and the emerging discipline of psychology, are viewed by the public with skepticism at best), the unlikely team embarks on what is a revolutionary effort in criminology — amassing a psychological profile of the man they’re looking for based on the details of his crimes. Their dangerous quest takes them into the tortured past and twisted mind of a murderer who has killed before, and will kill again before the hunt is over.

The project is not quite official just yet, but it looks like everything is moving toward TNT giving it the go ahead. Fukunaga will executive produce, and direct the pilot episode, which is some exciting stuff. Thoughts? Have you read the book? Is Hedlund a good fit? Let us know below.

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