The film, about a stylish jewel thief whose career lasted 50 years, will be written and produced by Eunetta T. Boone (Living Single, One on One), and the project is being developed by Justin Berfield (who played Reese on Malcolm in the Middle) and Jason Felts (Blonde Ambition).
So now you may be asking yourself, who is Doris Payne?
Payne is a coal miner’s daughter from Slab Fork, West Virginia who realized at an early age that the rude indifference of white shopkeepers could work in her favor.
The L.A. Times reports that Payne stole her first diamond at the age of 27, "hoping to raise money to help her mother leave an abusive husband." Her attractive, stylish demeanor was a distraction that made her "career" possible.
According to The L.A. Times, "Doris Payne never carried a gun. She never smashed a window or broke into a safe to take what she wanted. She just crossed her pantyhosed legs and murmured about the filigree ring under the glass. She wondered aloud about matching earrings. She would promise to return in 45 minutes, and only after Payne wafted away in her flowered dress would the clerk count the rings and come up short."
Doris Payne in 2006
The Johnsville News reports that Payne "hit Tiffany’s in New York, Bulgari in Rome, Her Royal Majesty’s jeweler, Garrard’s, in London. And she once walked out of Cartier in Monte Carlo with a 10.51 carat diamond ring on her finger. Held under house arrest for nine months, she managed to keep the diamond concealed by sewing it into her girdle."
Payne was arrested several times in her long career, which finally came to an end in 2005, when she stole an $8,500 ring in Nevada and a $31,500 ring from a Neiman Marcus in California. At the time of the theft, she was on parole for a 1999 theft in Colorado.
The L.A. Times reported in July 2008, "This spring, Payne returned to Colorado to complete the prison term interrupted by her other adventures. By the time she gets out, she’ll be 81. But the law won’t be done with her then – she must return to California to face charges for the Palo Alto theft."
Halle Berry is a cinematic drama queen of the highest (and most awesome) proportions, so it wouldn’t be a shock if the filmmakers let her display her acting chops by taking a more serious tone with the film. But there are other options.
Would you prefer to see Berry as Payne in the type of romanticized light that director Alfred Hitchcock once used on Cary Grant in the classic To Catch a Thief (a character to whom some have compared Payne), or maybe even playing the character in a light-hearted film like Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can (2002), about young con-man Frank Abagnale, Jr. (played by Leonardo DiCaprio)?
Personally, I will always show up for a Halle Berry movie, whether she’s trying to make me laugh or cry.