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06 December 2023

Julia Roberts to star in crime drama 'Train Man'

Julia Roberts attends the 'August: Osage County' premiere at the Ziegfeld Theatre. (AP)


Sixteen years after 'Erin Brockovich,' Julia Roberts is eyeing to star in 'Train Man,' a courtroom drama about a real-life New York folk hero, Variety has learned.

Roberts would play a lawyer tasked with defending Darius McCollum, the criminal (and Internet celebrity) known for impersonating public transit authorities in order to drive away subway trains and Greyhound buses. McCollum, who is diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, has been arrested more than 25 times for such crimes. Roberts' character would be his most recent lawyer, and his previous heists (starting at age 15) are shown throughout the film via flashbacks.

Those who have read the script by Simon Stephenson (of the U.K. series 'Eleventh Hour') tell that Variety it's a meaty role for Roberts, along the lines of her Oscar-winning portrait in 2000's 'Erin Brockovich.' The film is being produced by Gotham Group. Roberts could also potentially be a producer.

FilmNation Entertainment will be financing the film. A director has not been hired.

McCollum's story has been told in numerous newspaper articles and a documentary. Roberts has two movies in 2016: 'Money Monster,' directed by Jodie Foster, and 'Mother's Day' from Garry Marshall.

CAA is packaging the project, and FilmNation will handle international sales.