In December 2001, Mike Finkel, a prolific New York Times Magazine journalist, was roped into the most bizarre story of his career. An Oregonian by the name of Christian Longo, who had been accused of brutally murdering his wife and children, had used his name as an alias while he was a fugitive on the run. Then, Finkel’s career came crashing down when his Times Magazine cover story on the life of a young Ivory Coast laborer on a cocoa plantation, “Is Youssouf Malé a Slave?,” was proven to include fabricated and conflated facts. So Finkel, in an effort to repair his name, pursued the Longo story and attempted to get to the bottom of why he used his name, and whether this charismatic, attractive accused killer really did what they say he did.
True Story, directed by Rupert Goold, tells the “true story” of Finkel (Jonah Hill) and Longo’s (James Franco) complex relationship. The more Finkel learns about Longo, the more he begins to empathize with him—and believes he may be innocent. All this doesn’t sit well with Finkel’s girlfriend, played by Oscar nominee Felicity Jones (The Theory of Everything), who begins to question whether the man she loves is once again committing a journalistic sin.
Watch an exclusive behind the scenes video on “The True Story Behind True Story,” featuring the A-list cast (Hill, Franco, and Jones) and crew discussing the strange case and the making of the film: