Tessa Thompson Is Bringing Infamous Jewelry Thief Doris Payne's Story To Life On The Big Screen

Britni Danielle Feb, 14, 2018

Tessa Thompson is bringing an exciting new story to the big screen. The Creed star just signed on to produce and star in a film about notorious jewel thief, Doris Payne.

Thompson announced the project on Twitter.  “After chasing Doris and her story for years— and then keeping this secret for awhile— I’m screaming that this dream is coming true,” she wrote. “She is a deeply fascinating woman. So pleased to bring this story to the screen with CodeBlack & Lionsgate.”

Payne’s unconventional life was the subject of the 2013 documentary “The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne.” 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. In the 1970s, Payne was nabbed in Nice, France after stealing a 10-carat diamond ring worth $500,000 in Monte Carlo, and in the 1980s she was arrested after escaping federal custody during a hospital visit.

Today, the octogenarian is still pulling capers, albeit on a much smaller scale. Last year she was arrested at an Atlanta-area Walmart after attempting to walk out with around $90 of merchandise — all while wearing an electronic monitoring device from a previous arrest.

The fictional telling of Payne’s intriguing story has been in development for years. Nearly a decade ago, Halle Berry was slated to star in a film about Payne’s life, but the project seems to have fallen through.

Thompson’s film will be produced by Codeblack Films, which also has an Angela Davis biopic in the works, and will reportedly be a “high-concept action-drama drama” reminiscent of Catch Me If You Can.