Angelina Jolie Franchise Based on Patricia Cornwell Mysteries Moves Forward

If there’s any actress deserving of a franchise, it’s Angelina Jolie. While she may not always fill seats with her dramatic roles, she’s one of the few female stars who can draw an audience for sexy action thrillers like “Wanted” and the upcoming “Salt.” But she hasn’t had a franchise of her own since she said goodbye to the “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” series back in 2003. A sequel to “Wanted” will eventually happen, and I’ll always have hope for more adventures from “Mr. and Mrs. Smith.” Yet for the time being I’m excited for Jolie’s potential as medical examiner Kay Scarpetta.

Jolie was cast as the character — protagonist of 17 mystery novels by Patricia Cornwell, including the recently published “The Scarpetta Factor” — last April. But we haven’t heard much else about the role, which would put the actress back in “Bone Collector” territory. Until now. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the untitled Scarpetta film is currently being scripted by Kerry Williamson, a fairly new screenwriter who has also written upcoming projects for Alexander Payne and Darren Aronofsky.

Williamson is reportedly coming up with an original storyline for Scarpetta rather than basing the film on one of Cornwell’s novels, which have followed the forensics expert through multiple job changes and romantic involvements. It’s unclear if the movie will begin with her initially positioned as Chief Medical Examiner of Virginia or be set in any of the books’ other locations, such as Miami, Charleston or New York City.

With so much background and history, Scarpetta could be introduced to moviegoers at any point. The important thing is for Williamson to leave things open for the character to continue in possible sequels. Of course, a follow-up could always go backwards for an earlier stand-alone case, a la “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.” If this does end up a franchise, it can be like old mystery film series’ and require little sequentiality.

Are you a fan of Patricia Cornwell’s Scarpetta novels? What direction do you think the films should go in? Do you hope Angelina Jolie winds up with a new franchise out of this?