The film adaptation of the best-selling nonfiction title The Lost City of Z (RH/Doubleday, 2009) has been in limbo for several years. Rights were acquired shortly after the book was published, with James Gray set to direct, Brad Pitt’s production company Plan B overseeing the project and expectations that Pitt would star. In late 2010, however, it was abandoned and Pitt left to take the lead in the film Killing them Softly (based on the book Cogan’s Trade, by George V. Higgins).
But now it appears the project is being resuscitated. Benedict Cumberbatch is in negotiations to star, according to Deadline, with James Gray still directing and Plan B still producing.
The book grew out of a New Yorker article by David Grann, (Doubleday, Feb, 2009), about British explorer, Percy Fawcett, who disappeared int the Amazon in 1935, during an attempt to prove his claim that a highly sophisticated city, which he called the City of Z, was hidden in the jungle. At the time it was published, the NYT critic Michiko Kakutani gave it a rare rave, “at once a biography, a detective story and a wonderfully vivid piece of travel writing that combines Bruce Chatwinesque powers of observation with a Waugh-like sense of the absurd,” adding, “it reads with all the pace and excitement of a movie thriller and all the verisimilitude and detail of firsthand reportage.” It ended up topping most of the year’s best books lists.