Tessa Thompson to Play Famed Jewel Thief in Upcoming Film


In one of the most irresistible marriages of casting and premise in recent memory, Tessa Thompson has signed to play the leading role in an upcoming film based on the real-life exploits of Doris Payne, who charmed her way through six decades of broad-daylight lifts from high-class jewelry stores.

Payne never used any weapon more dangerous than her smile. She would walk into shops posing as a society woman, ask to see several items, engage with the clerks, and palm one or two items. Her most recent (known) job was last year, when she was arrested for shoplifting several items from an Atlanta-area Wal-Mart. She was 86 at the time of the arrest – and still sporting an ankle bracelet from her bust the previous year, for attempting to lift a $2,000 necklace from a mall jewelry store.

Her story was previously told in the acclaimed 2013 documentary The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne. Thompson, who is herself a bit of a thief – she stole every damn scene in Thor: Ragnarok – will also produce the film, and confirmed the deal on Twitter:

Variety describes the film as a globe-trotting caper flick in the tradition of Catch Me if You Can and The Thomas Crown Affair. So don’t mind me, I’m just gonna get in line now.