Julia Roberts won an Oscar for playing heroic legal clerk Erin Brockovich in the 2001 movie named for her. Now she could be eyeing another awards-caliber gig in Train Man, which will have the actress again playing a real-life legal figure. According to Variety, this time she'll be portraying Sally Butler, the defense attorney for Darius McCollum, an infamous New York City subway and bus thief. Butler also considers herself a friend of her client.
The McCollum part has yet to be cast, and the movie also currently lacks a director. But the script is by Simon Stephenson, who wrote episodes of the U.K. series Eleventh Hour, and Roberts might be a producer alongside project shepherd Eric Robinson (Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil) and Ellen Goldsmith-Vein (The Maze Runner).
See the real Butler and real McCollum in an NBC report from last November:
The same true story, which has been compared to that of Catch Me if You Can subject Frank Abagnale, is being told in a new documentary titled Off the Rails, which will have its world premiere in a few weeks at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. McCollum is also something of a folk hero thanks to numerous newspaper and magazine articles, as well as an award-winning stage play and BBC radio play.
McCollum has Asperger syndrome and loves trains but has never been able to get a job with the MTA. So instead he's impersonated transit workers and taken off with subways, the first back in 1980 when he was only 15. He's been in and out of prison for his crimes since then and has made more attempts in recent years.
In 2010, he stole his first bus from a Hoboken terminal, and last fall he stole a Greyhound. He claimed at the time of his arrest for that one that he'll steal a plane next.
Watch another, more recent NBC report on and interview with McCollum: