In one of the most irresistible marriages of casting and premise in recent memory, Tessa Thompson has signed to play the leading role in an upcoming film based on the real-life exploits of Doris Payne, who charmed her way through six decades of broad-daylight lifts from high-class jewelry stores. The film traced the trajectory of the 87-year-old from her rural hometown of Slab Fork, West Virginia to her many heists around the world.
Payne has shoplifted from high-end stores since the 1950s, often by posing as a well-off women who wore designer handbags and was armed with a backstory. A documentarian described her as being "as charming, sweet and lovely as she is manipulative, cunning and shrewd". We're going to see Brie Larson and her standalone with Dewanda Wise, doing "Captain Marvel".
In 2011, she was sentenced to 16 months in prison for stealing a 1-carat diamond ring.
JCK has spoken to several of Payne's victims over the years, most of whom admitted they were taken in by her soft-spoken, grandmotherly demeanor. In fact, she was last arrested in July of just a year ago.
She has said that she's never felt any remorse for her crimes, only regret at being caught. Payne was already the subject of a 2103 documentary, The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne. Almost a decade ago, Halle Berry was slated to star in a film about Payne's life, but the project seems to have fallen through.
In addition to leading the charge, Thompson will produce the movie alongside Codeblack Films' Jeff Clanagan, the keeper of Payne's life rights. It's still too early to have a title or a release date or really any other information at all, but you can be sure we'll be keeping an eye on this project.