Tom Cruise's loss may be George Clooney's gain. 

The "Mission Impossible" star acquired the rights to best-selling novel "The Monster of Florence" in 2008 when he was still head of United Artists.   Cruise even recruited his "Valkyrie" screenwriter Chris McQuarrie to write and co-produce a big screen adaptation of the book.  When MGM's financial woes effectively shut UA down, the project went into turnaround.  Now, George Clooney, his longtime producing partner Grant Heslov and Fox 2000 have come to McQuarrie's rescue.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, McQuarrie is now back at work on the screenplay with his "Valkyrie" co-writer Nathan Alexander and Clooney is attached to star.  Written by Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi, the book centers on Il Mostro, a term used to refer to the perpetrator (or perpetrators) of 16 murders that took place between 1968 and 1985 in Italy.  A touchy subject, Preston and Spezi's investigation for the novel found them at odds with the Italian police. With the murder's still unsolved it's unclear what the film's storyline will be.

While Clooney hasn't fully committed to the project, his schedule will free up in the fall.  In the meantime, Clooney will soon begin production on "The Ides of March" and then segue to a supporting role in Alfonso Cauron's "Gravity."