×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Tessa Thompson to Star as Doris Payne in Jewelry Heist Movie (EXCLUSIVE)

Tessa Thompson has signed on to portray Doris Payne, a woman who gained notoriety for her luxury jewelry heists from stores around the world.

Thompson, whose credits include “Thor: Ragnarok,” “Creed,” and “Westworld,” will also produce the currently untitled film with Codeblack Films’ Jeff Clanagan. Codeblack is launching the project after having obtained Payne’s life rights.

The film is conceived as a high-concept action-drama in the vein of “Catch Me if You Can” and  “The Thomas Crown Affair.” Codeblack Films’ Candice Wilson will oversee the project.

In her six-decade long career, Payne, who is now 87, would enter jewelry stores posing as a well-to-do woman looking for a diamond ring and ask to see an assortment of items. Using her charm, she would eventually cause the clerk to forget how many pieces were outside the cases and leave with one or two pieces.

Payne’s criminal record dates back to the 1950s. She was arrested many times and has admitted to having used 20 aliases, 10 Social Security numbers, and nine dates of birth.

Payne was the subject of a 2013 documentary, “The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne,” where she described in detail many of her crimes, from the earliest thefts in her youth, up to her arrest in 2011 for stealing a diamond ring from a Macy’s department store. The trial for this crime was chronicled in the documentary, and her last interview in the film took place in prison.

Codeblack Films, which is part of Lionsgate, also has an Angela Davis biopic in active development. Its drama “Traffik” — starring Paula Patton, Omar Epps, Roselyn Sanchez, and Laz Alonso — opens April 27.

Thompson is represented by Greene & Associates Talent Agency, Mosaic and attorney Jeff Bernstein.

More Film

  • Dragon Ball Super: Broly

    Film Review: ‘Dragon Ball Super: Broly’

    Late in “Dragon Ball Super: Broly,” the 20th Japanese anime feature in a 35-year-old franchise that also has spawned scads of TV series, trading cards, video games, mangas, and limited-edition collectibles, a supporting character complains, “I don’t understand a single thing you’ve said the whole time.” If you’re among the heretofore uninitiated drawn to this [...]

  • Loco Films Boards 'Paper Flag' From

    Loco Films Boards 'Paper Flag' From Promising New Director Nathan Ambrosioni (EXCLUSIVE)

    Loco Films has come on board “Paper Flag” (“Les Papiers de drapeaux”), the feature debut of 18-year old French director Nathan Ambrosioni. The film explores the ambivalent relationship between two siblings and the concept of freedom. Guillaume Gouix (“The Returned”) stars as a young adult who has just got out of jail after 12 years [...]

  • 'Who Will Write Our History' Review:

    Film Review: 'Who Will Write Our History'

    The most famous diarist of the Holocaust, Anne Frank, began to write down the drama of her daily life with no ulterior motive (apart from her teenage ambition to write fiction). But in March 1944, the year before she died in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, she heard a radio broadcast by a member of the [...]

  • Spider-Man: Far From Home trailer

    Film News Roundup: 'Spider-Man: Far From Home' Trailer Sets Sony Pictures Record

    In today’s film news roundup, “Spider-Man: Far From Home” sets a studio record, Chris Meledandri and Glenn Close are honored, an art-house streaming service is unveiled, and “Cliffs of Freedom” gets a release. TRAILER STATS The first “Spider-Man: Far From Home” trailer has set a record as the biggest digital launch in Sony Pictures history [...]

  • Frank Grillo Hell on the Border

    Frank Grillo to Star in the Thriller 'Hell on the Border'

    Frank Grillo is set to star in the action-thriller “Hell on the Border” with Wes Miller directing. Miller also penned the script with Curtis Nichouls, Henry Penzi, and Sasha Yelaun producing. Ron Perlman is also on board to co-star. Plot details are unknown at this time. Production is currently underway in Birmingham, Ala. Grillo has [...]

  • Lee Unkrich Variety Oscars Nominees Lunch

    'Toy Story 3,' 'Coco' Director Lee Unkrich to Exit Pixar After 25 Years

    Lee Unkrich, who won Academy Awards for “Toy Story 3” and “Coco,” is departing Pixar Animation Studios after 25 years to spend more time with his family. Unkrich joined Pixar in 1994 after working as an assistant editor in television on “Silk Stalkings” and “Renegade.” He served as editor on Pixar’s first feature, 1995’s “Toy [...]

  • Velvet Buzzsaw trailer

    Netflix Original Movies: What to Look Forward To in 2019

    Following the biggest fourth-quarter worldwide subscriber gain ever and some controversy around increased prices in the U.S., Netflix looks to keep its momentum going into 2019. From Jan. 18 through March, the streaming site will release 10 original films, including action-packed thrillers, a post-apocalyptic sci-fi, quirky comedies, inspirational dramas, an artistic horror movie and a viral [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content