Jolie ‘Scarpetta’ Adaptation Snags Writer

Published 4 years ago by

Angelina Jolie Scarpetta Jolie Scarpetta Adaptation Snags Writer

Back in April last year we reported that Fox 2000 had scooped up the rights to Patricia Cornwell’s Scarpetta mystery novel series, with mega-star Angelina Jolie in line to star. Now we get word that the project is moving forward with a writer and that Jolie is, indeed, confirmed for the film.

THR’s Risky Biz Blog reports the news that Kerry Williamson (Fork in the Road) will adapt Cornwell’s mystery series for the big-screen. The project is being eyed as a possible new franchise for Jolie, since the novel series has 17 entries (so far), with the latest one, The Scarpetta Factor, being released last October. Williamson’s script will draw from all the characters and events of the novels, as opposed to focusing on just one. It’s much the same as the Bourne franchise in that way, since none of those films really follow the books all that closely but rather draw from the entire canon. Scarpetta previously been pitched as, “a suspense thriller in the vein of Silence of the Lambs and Se7en.”

The rights to the Scarpetta series have been kicking around for about 15 years now which suggests that it’s not that easy of a series to adapt (if it was, wouldn’t we have seen an adaptation long ago?). Mark Gordon pursued the rights to the series after Columbia let them expire and he is now producing the project along with Media Talent Group’s Geyer Kosinski (who is also Jolie’s manager).

Williamson is one of those writers who we’ll probably be seeing in-demand in the future: Right now she’s written Fork in the Road for director Alexander Payne (Sideways), and is set to adapt an article on a bank heist for Darren Aronofsky (The Wrestler) to helm, called Breaking the Bank. It’s not yet known who will be directing Scarpetta (presumably that’s what they’ll call the film, unless they draw from one of the novel titles).

In case you don’t know, the Scarpetta series follows Dr. Kay Scarpetta as she solves crimes based on trace body evidence and often finds herself wrapped up in dangerous mysteries. Given the popularity of the novels, there’s already an audience out there who will see a movie adaptation no matter who is starring, let alone with star mega-power like Jolie attached.

Anyone out there happen to have read the Scarpetta novels? If so (or even if not), do you think Jolie is the right actress to star in the role?

No word on when Scarpetta might go into production or hit theaters – stay tuned. Jolie can next be seen in the spy action-thriller, Salt, which is due out on July 23rd this year.

Source: THR’s Risky Biz Blog (thanks to First Showing)

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  1. dude jolie blows this makes out to be some badass actress gimme a break shes always in the same role.

  2. I live in Richmond, Virginia, where the books are primarily set. I also was a fan of the books in the early part of the series. Frankly, I'm not crazy about the series anymore, having given up on it long ago. As with many series, it turned into too much of a soap opera and would often neglect the actual mystery in many of the books for the many personal dramas.

    The biggest challenge in this series is that it's been beaten to the punch, in a sense. The whole thing about Cornwell's series is that it made the forensic side of an investigation as exciting as the actual questioning of suspects and pounding of the pavement. CSI has ripped that off and then some.

    If they are going to do this, then the way to go is to keep it very real world. CSI gets too flashy at times, practically making up forensic techniques for the sake of their plots.

    And on a side note, if this means Angelina Jolie might be coming to my town, I work in one of the 911 centers, and I would LOVE to show her around. I'm sure my wife will be okay with that.

  3. I used to read the Scarpetta books as well, and I really enjoyed them for a long time – and then the stories just lost the flair. It wasn't the hard edge and suspense that the series had.

    I really, really do NOT see Jolie in this role. I mean, whatever, she's okay; but I just think they are taking this someplace else. That said, I didn't see Cruise as Lestat before the Interview came out, and I actually really liked the movie – and him in it. And I'm not a Cruise fan, either. (except when he's in the closet)

  4. I've just read her last book and Jolie can certainly play the part. I have a feeling Cornwell already had her in mind when she wrote the book as she said on TV that she wanted Jolie to play Scarpetta. It's an easy role for Jolie and an easy fit since she's done thrillers before.

  5. Jolie doesn't LOOK like Scarpetta at all. Scarpetta is very short, has short blonde hair and clear blue eyes.
    Actually, I've heard Cornwell herself asked Jodie Foster to play the part, years ago, but Foster denied.
    For me, Foster would be perfect for the part. Elizabeth Mitchell and Kathryn Morris (from Cold Case) are also great.
    Jolie is an awesome actress, but I (and many others I talked to) don't see her as medical examiner Kay Scarpetta.

  6. Good point.
    Yeah, I haven't read the series in ages, so I suppose whatever the author wants is ultimately the best way to go. Just because I as a reader envision the character a certain way doesn't mean that's how the author did. Hey, if it makes for a good film, I'm all in.

  7. Not interested in seeing Jolie in any movies. I think her time has come and gone. Sorry to say the same thing about Brad.

    • I absolutely don’t see Jolie as Scarpetta. She doesn’t look anything like her. Also, in 1990, in the first book, Scarpetta was 40 and now would be in her early 60s.

  8. Who should play medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta on film? Diane Lane, yes; Angelina Jolie, no, absolutely not: let her stick to Lara Croft and other over-the-top roles. Kay Scarpetta isn’t one of those roles, and to rewrite the character as such will alienate most of the book series’ existing fans.

    The reasons for casting Lane as Scarpetta:

    1) physically far more believable as the honey-blonde Kay Scarpetta, ditto re: physical presence;

    2) Lane has more ability to project that particular combination of reserve, vulnerability, intelligence, and persistence that are the primary characteristics of Scarpetta, a personality that is indelible yet does not 'shout' behaviorally speaking – whereas no matter what role she's in, Jolie comes across as much louder and less reserved a personality, and that carries over into many of her film performances; and, finally,

    3) this is about drama, not melodrama: Scarpetta is not an over-the-top role but rather one of quiet intensity and tension – it's the difference between playing a pirate queen (Jolie, although she hasn't done that role yet) versus doing Kabuki, where there is intensity but also great restraint. Jolie just hasn't had that restraint in her tool kit for the last 10 or 12 years – and Lane's acting chops are just plain better. Period.

    A close second choice? Kyra Sedgwick. She can hold her own in a serious feature film and has repeatedly shown both that and great versatility in the film roles she’s played. In fact, until her starring role on TNT’s The Closer, Sedgwick was considered primarily a film actress. What works against her is how successful she’s been at inhabiting the character of Deputy Chief Brenda Lee Johnson: the industry may have already unfairly stereotyped her as a particular kind of character in a crime series, even though I have absolute faith in her ability to bring to life Scarpetta, whose character is markedly different from that of Chief Johnson. But we’re dealing with stupid, superficial Hollywood perceptions here, and no matter how many times those perceptions are proven wrong and the guilty parties end up on their asses, Hollywood never seems to learn from those mistakes. Thus the bitter irony that Sedgwick’s success with The Closer might doom her for Scarpetta. That’s a real shame.

    As for suggestions that Elizabeth Mitchell or Kathryn Morris might do, well, maybe as ninth or tenth choices if this were going to be a TV mini-series for Lifetime – but not for any serious film franchise. Sorry, but neither of those women have the acting chops to pull off the lead in a theatrical film release, let alone star in the premiere film of what could be a new franchise.

    Besides, the audience for a Scarpetta film will come because of the main character and the stories, not the star – much the same as with the Harry Potter films and the Twilight films, for which the roles made the stars and not vice-versa. The Scarpetta books are intricate hybrids of mysteries and crime stories, in which the forensics are key to the plots, **not** action films. This isn’t big-lipped Lara Croft in a lab coat, and to treat the series as such insults the audiences (usually a fatal mistake with a book series that is widely read and best selling internationally).

    So: it remains to be seen whether the director who ends up with this project (if it flies) is smart enough to insist on someone far more appropriate for the role versus just a Big Name with the thought that that would guarantee box office (always a stupid assumption). Then again, Fox has been stupid before, and the Hollywood PR machine says the studio has already locked on Jolie (what can one expect when Jolie’s manager is one of the two people at the reins of this project?). Dumb. Let the audience beware.

  9. I don't know the Scarpetta character, but you do and I love Diane Lane in just about everything she does. Great suggestion.

  10. Thank you. I highly recommend the Scarpetta books; they sustain suspense, the heroine is likeable, the story lines are credible, and Cornwell writes well. I can't help but wonder if the popularity of this series didn't pave the way for the CSI franchise.

  11. Who should play medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta on film? Diane Lane, yes; Angelina Jolie, no, absolutely not: let her stick to Lara Croft and other over-the-top roles. Kay Scarpetta isn’t one of those roles, and to rewrite the character as such will alienate most of the book series’ existing fans.

    The reasons for casting Lane as Scarpetta:

    1) physically far more believable as the honey-blonde Kay Scarpetta, ditto re: physical presence;

    2) Lane has more ability to project that particular combination of reserve, vulnerability, intelligence, and persistence that are the primary characteristics of Scarpetta, a personality that is indelible yet does not 'shout' behaviorally speaking – whereas no matter what role she's in, Jolie comes across as much louder and less reserved a personality, and that carries over into many of her film performances; and, finally,

    3) this is about drama, not melodrama: Scarpetta is not an over-the-top role but rather one of quiet intensity and tension – it's the difference between playing a pirate queen (Jolie, although she hasn't done that role yet) versus doing Kabuki, where there is intensity but also great restraint. Jolie just hasn't had that restraint in her tool kit for the last 10 or 12 years – and Lane's acting chops are just plain better. Period.

    A close second choice? Kyra Sedgwick. She can hold her own in a serious feature film and has repeatedly shown both that and great versatility in the film roles she’s played. In fact, until her starring role on TNT’s The Closer, Sedgwick was considered primarily a film actress. What works against her is how successful she’s been at inhabiting the character of Deputy Chief Brenda Lee Johnson: the industry may have already unfairly stereotyped her as a particular kind of character in a crime series, even though I have absolute faith in her ability to bring to life Scarpetta, whose character is markedly different from that of Chief Johnson. But we’re dealing with stupid, superficial Hollywood perceptions here, and no matter how many times those perceptions are proven wrong and the guilty parties end up on their asses, Hollywood never seems to learn from those mistakes. Thus the bitter irony that Sedgwick’s success with The Closer might doom her for Scarpetta. That’s a real shame.

    As for suggestions that Elizabeth Mitchell or Kathryn Morris might do, well, maybe as ninth or tenth choices if this were going to be a TV mini-series for Lifetime – but not for any serious film franchise. Sorry, but neither of those women have the acting chops to pull off the lead in a theatrical film release, let alone star in the premiere film of what could be a new franchise.

    Besides, the audience for a Scarpetta film will come because of the main character and the stories, not the star – much the same as with the Harry Potter films and the Twilight films, for which the roles made the stars and not vice-versa. The Scarpetta books are intricate hybrids of mysteries and crime stories, in which the forensics are key to the plots, **not** action films. This isn’t big-lipped Lara Croft in a lab coat, and to treat the series as such insults the audiences (usually a fatal mistake with a book series that is widely read and best selling internationally).

    So: it remains to be seen whether the director who ends up with this project (if it flies) is smart enough to insist on someone far more appropriate for the role versus just a Big Name with the thought that that would guarantee box office (always a stupid assumption). Then again, Fox has been stupid before, and the Hollywood PR machine says the studio has already locked on Jolie (what can one expect when Jolie’s manager is one of the two people at the reins of this project?). Dumb. Let the audience beware.

  12. I don't know the Scarpetta character, but you do and I love Diane Lane in just about everything she does. Great suggestion.

  13. Thank you. I highly recommend the Scarpetta books; they sustain suspense, the heroine is likeable, the story lines are credible, and Cornwell writes well. I can't help but wonder if the popularity of this series didn't pave the way for the CSI franchise.

  14. I so totally agree that Jolie is NOT AT ALL the person to play Scarpetta – Lucy maybe but not Scarpetta.

    I have just finished reading Port Mortuary and I agree that Kyra Sedgwick would be ideal but when you consider Scarpetta’s age now, depending of course in which decade they start the movies, Diane Lane would also be quite perfect.

    I think, if Jolie is cast in this role, I may just not bother seeing the film. I certainly wont pay to see it but maybe wait until they show it on TV, and even then I wouldn’t plan my day around it.

    I refused to see the Harry Potter Series after the second film as they do not do the books justice. The films ruin the writing.

    I would hate for Jolie to ruin my love of Scarpetta.

    I vote for Kyra or Diane.

  15. I totally feel that Jolie would be the wrong casting for Scarpetta. I felt this way since if first read that she was going to be Scarpetta. She is WAY too well known to play Scarpetta. I asked some other people who read her and agree that Jolie would be a miscast. Diane Lane would be far more believable.