Perhaps already eyeing his third Oscar nomination, “The Town” actor Jeremy Renner has signed on to play brilliant 19th century gangster George Leslie in “King of Heists”, an adaptation of the non-fiction book by J. North Conway, according to Deadline. The plot will focus on Leslie’s orchestration of the successful heist of nearly $3 million in cash and securities from the Manhattan Savings Institution in 1878.
Renner will also produce the film along with producing partner Don Handfield and Teddy Schwarzman, whose Black Bear Pictures optioned the book rights. Black Bear Pictures is planning to finance the project’s development and production, with writer Will Staples penning the script.
Renner has been on a tear over the last couple of years, with his 2010 Oscar nomination for “The Hurt Locker” serving as a springboard into mainstream stardom. Upcoming films for the recently-minted A-lister include “Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol” opposite Tom Cruise, superhero movie “The Avengers”, in which he stars as Hawkeye, and “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters” with Gemma Arterton. He is also set to play the role of “Martin” in “The Bourne Legacy” opposite Matt Damon.
George Leslie (full name George Leonidas Leslie) passed himself off as an upscale, reputable architect and ladies’ man in New York City for years, with his involvement in the criminal underworld not known until after his death.