Angelina Jolie to Play Scarpetta in Film Adaption of Patricia Cornwell Book Series

By Rich King on April 22, 2009

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — Angelina Jolie may have landed the next great movie franchise.

The 33-year-old actress has signed on to play Dr. Kay Scarpetta, the crime-solving medical examiner in Patricia Cornwell's bestselling book series, according to Variety.

While there are 16 Scarpetta novels, the trade publication said the first film won't focus on a specific Cornwell title. The author's most recent novel, Scarpetta, was published in December.

The heroine character is based on former Virginia Chief Medical Examiner, Marcella Fierro, MD. While still an aspiring writer in 1984, Cornwell arranged to meet the pioneering woman, who offered insight into her career as a medical examiner. Fierro's distinguished career included some of the nation's most notorious crimes, including the Virginia Tech massacre.

"I would not be where I am today in my life were it not for Dr. Fierro," Cornwell said after her inspiration retired in January 2008.

The pairing could be a match made in heaven with Jolie being one of Hollywood's biggest stars and Cornwell a top-selling author. According to Variety, the deal was hatched after months of negotiations, with the pair eventually finding common ground on the creative direction for the film.

Jolie, who gained notoriety early in her career in the "Lara Croft: Tomb Raider" series, is currently shooting the suspense film, "Salt."