Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams in Talks to Star in Catholic Church Sex Scandal Drama (Exclusive)

spotlight

Open Road will distribute “Spotlight,” which Tom McCarthy is directing for Anonymous and Participant

Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton and Stanley Tucci are all in talks to star in Tom McCarthy’s “Spotlight,” which follows the Pulitzer Prize-winning Boston Globe journalists who exposed the Catholic Church’s decades-long cover-up of child molestation in Massachusetts, multiple individuals familiar with the prestige project have told TheWrap.

Ruffalo is nearing a deal to play Michael Rezendes, while Rachel McAdams is being eyed for the female lead of Sacha Pfeiffer. McAdams has an official offer, though she has not started formal negotiations yet.

Liev Schreiber and Aaron Eckhart are also circling key roles in the ensemble drama, which McCarthy co-wrote with Josh Singer (“The West Wing”).

Participant Media is financing the project, which is being produced by Anonymous Content and Rocklin/Faust. Open Road has come on to handle domestic distribution.

Also read: Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams Hated Each Other on the Set of ‘The Notebook’

Steve Golin and Michael Sugar of Anonymous Content are producing with Nicole Rocklin and Blye Faust. David Mizner, who brought the project to Rocklin/Faust, will consult and serve as an associate producer. Participant Media’s Jonathan King and Jeff Skoll will executive produce with Open Road’s Tom Ortenberg and Peter Lawson.

Producers have secured life rights of the Globe reporters responsible, including Spotlight Team members Rezendes, Pfeiffer and Matt Carroll, Spotlight Team editor Walter “Robby” Robinson (Keaton), special projects editor Ben Bradlee Jr. and Globe editor Marty Baron (Schreiber).

When Baron saw an article in the Globe just after starting as editor about a Boston priest who had molested children, he realized a bigger story could lie behind it. He spurred a team of reporters to spend a year interviewing hundreds of victims and poring over thousands of documents.

Also read: Rachel McAdams Cringes Watching Her ‘Notebook’ Audition on ‘Today’ (Video)

The Globe team eventually discovered that Cardinal Bernard Law had hidden years of serial abuse by moving guilty priests from one parish to another, where they often abused again.

The team’s articles won them the Pulitzer Prize in 2003 for meritorious public service and set off a wave of revelations around the world.

The project was announced in April 2010 and described as being in the vein of the classic journalism movie “All the President’s Men.”

Bradlee Jr. is the son of legendary Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee, who stood behind Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein when their Watergate reporting was assailed by President Richard Nixon and his White House staff.

Ruffalo and Tucci earned Oscar nominations for their supporting performances in “The Kids Are All Right” and “The Lovely Bones,” respectively.

Ruffalo and Keaton could find themselves in contention for Oscars again this year between “Foxcatcher” and “Birdman.” The duo are both having strong years.

Ruffalo starred in HBO’s “The Normal Heart,” John Carney’s “Begin Again” and the Sundance movie “Infinitely Polar Bear,” and he also reprised his role as the Hulk in Marvel’s “The Avengers: Age of Ultron,” which hits theaters next year. He’s represented by UTA and Brillstein Entertainment Partners.

Keaton co-starred in “RoboCop” and “Need for Speed,” while “Birdman” is scheduled to open the Venice Film Festival and close the New York Film Festival. He’s repped by ICM Partners and Anonymous Content.

Tucci has also kept busy, co-starred in “Transformers: Age of Extinction” and the “Hunger Games” sequels, in which he plays Caesar Flickerman. He’s repped by CAA and Anonymous Content.

McAdams can currently be seen opposite Phillip Seymour Hoffman in “A Most Wanted Man,” and next year, she’ll share the screen with Bradley Cooper in Cameron Crowe’s Hawaii-set romantic comedy. She’s represented by WME and Magnolia Entertainment.