J2, Boone team on Payne biopic

Justin Berfield’s film production shingle, J2 Pictures, and TV writer Eunetta Boone are developing a feature about 75-year-old international jewel thief Doris Payne, who spent more than five decades stealing pricey baubles.

Boone, creator of UPN’s “One on One,” will pen the screenplay and take a producer credit along with Berfield, who stars on “Malcolm in the Middle,” and Jason Felts, Berfield’s partner at J2.

Payne now sits behind bars in a Las Vegas jail for snatching an $8,499 diamond ring from a Nieman Marcus store in Palo Alto, Calif., among other charges. She is awaiting sentencing after striking a plea agreement with prosecutors last month.

J2 Pictures acquired the life rights to Payne’s story after Boone met with the thieving grandma in jail.

“We knew that her life story is better than most of the fictional stories manufactured in Hollywood,” Berfield said.

J2 Pictures also is developing a feature about the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia. Berfield and Felts, who acquired the rights to two books about Garcia and the band last fall, are in talks with veteran producers to co-produce.

Filed Under:

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more