Channing Tatum to Play Heroin Addict

Richard Farrell is adapting his own novel “What's Left of Us” for Berkeley Square Films

"Dear John" star Channing Tatum is set to follow in the footsteps of Leonardo DiCaprio ("The Basketball Diaries"), Heath Ledger ("Candy"), Jared Leto ("Requiem For a Dream") and Ewan McGregor ("Trainspotting") by playing a heroin addict in "What's Left of Us," an adaptation of Richard Farrell's novel that the author is writing for Berkeley Square Films, according to Deadline.

Based on a true story, the film will test Tatum's dramatic acting chops, as the story finds his junkie character suffering an excruciating week in detox. Farrell has experience with the subject matter, having co-directed the 1995 HBO documentary "High On Crack Street: Lost Lives in Lowell."

It's certainly encouraging to see Tatum challenging himself, as his recent projects have found him in full-fledged movie star mode, as opposed to say, good performance mode. I was blown away by Tatum the first time I saw him in "A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints," where he was raw and real and intense before Hollywood molded the manly man into a pretty boy fit for films like "Step Up." Since then, he's been repeating himself over and over in films like "Fighting" and "G.I. Joe." Fortunately, he's about to stretch himself in Kevin Macdonald's "The Eagle of the Ninth," and this project is another step in the right direction for his career.

In other news regarding BSF, partner Paul Tamasy is co-writing an original screenplay titled "Depravity" with Boston-based crime author Dennis Lehane, whose "Mystic River," "Gone Baby Gone" and "Shutter Island" have all been adapted into successful Hollywood movies. The story follows three roommates who accidentally kill an innocent man. Sounds like "The Curve" meets "Shallow Grave," i.e. very cool.

BSF is also developing "Bullet," a family film about a 12 year-old runaway who teams up with an over-the-hill dog trainer to turn a stray greyhound into a champion racer.

WME agent Graham Taylor is packaging the trio of projects for the new producing and financing banner.

BSF's inaugural production, board member Mark Hamill's "Black Pearl," begins shooting in October. Based on his own Dark Horse graphic novel, Hamill's film will be a near-documentary look at what would happen if an adrenaline-addicted vigilante dressed up as a superhero. Michael Uslan ("The Dark Knight") is exec producing.

Tamasy and writing partner Eric Johnson have already written "Joe" for Will Smith at Sony. The "Hitch"-style comedy concerns a man suffering the misfortunes of Job, and Smith is considering starring in the project once he wraps "Men in Black 3" for the studio.

Besides "Eagle of the Ninth," Tatum next appears in Steven Soderbergh's "Knockout" and Ron Howard's "Cheaters." He's also set to reunite with "Saints" director Dito Montiel for the crime drama "Son of No One."