By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated January 10, 2003 12:31 PM

There will be no unemployment checks in the near future for Brad Pitt or Halle Berry.

First, Pitt, 39, will produce and perhaps even star in “The Madman of Alcatraz,” a drama based on the true story of the psychiatrist who treated Robert Stroud, the prison’s ignoble “Birdman” — the inmate made famous by Burt Lancaster’s Oscar-nominated performance in 1963’s “The Birdman of Alcatraz.”

Variety reports that the drama will examine the maddening relationship between the two men, though screenwriter Ned Zeman’s research reveals that the true story was not of a killer’s reformation “through his love of birds but of a dangerous sociopath who used his pets as a ruse to gain sympathy and trust.”

Meanwhile, Variety also says that last year’s Best Actress Oscar Winner and Penelope Cruz will costar in the horror flick “Gothika.”

Berry, 36, will play a criminal psychologist suddenly accused of a murder and kept prisoner in her own institution.

Cruz, 28, is to portray a fellow mental patient.

No start date for either movie has been announced.