James Gray (We Own the Night) has signed on to write and direct White Devil for Warner Bros., which is being considered a priority project for the studio.

The plot is based on the true story of John Willis, a Dorchester, Massachussets orphan who was taken in and raised by a Chinese mafia family, and ascends through the ranks of his adopted family's empire. The real John Willis was arrested earlier this year for drug trafficking.

Stephen Kane and Matthew Valentinas are executive producing for the studio, although no production schedule was given.

James Gray most recently directed The Immigrant, which stars Joaquin Phoenix, Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Renner, and will be released by The Weinstein Company later this year. The filmmaker's other credits include Two Lovers, The Yards, and Little Odessa.