After a long courtship, Angelina Jolie will play Kay Scarpetta

It's taken 20 years – and Angelina Jolie – to realize a movie deal for Patricia Cornwell character Kay Scarpetta.

Thibault Camus/AP
Author Patricia Cornwell credits Angelina Jolie's interest in playing crime heroine Kay Scarpetta with helping to make the movie project a reality.

Throughout the course of 17 mystery novels, beginning in 1990 with the publication of "Postmortem," medical examiner and crime solver Kay Scarpetta has been wowing her fans. For years now, many of those fans have also been yearning to see their heroine in film.

Now their wishes will come true. But is Angelina Jolie the right actress to bring Scarpetta to life?

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Fox 2000 could begin shooting a Scarpetta vehicle as early as next fall. But the film will not rely on any of Cornwell's novels. Instead, a screenwriter will construct an "origins story" written for the screen. The Times says that the story will be set in the present day and will feature a more youthful Scarpetta.

Not everyone is happy. Leaning on both references in the novels and Cornwell's own appearance, many Scarpetta fans picture the pathologist as more like a 40-something blond with a short haircut. Others insist that Scarpetta more closely resembles Jodie Foster (who is said to have turned the role down), Glenn Close, Demi Moore, and/or Kristin Scott Thomas.

"Angie is all wrong to play Kay," complains one fan on the NDTV website. "Angie's exotic looks would take away from the actual characters."

"As much as I love Kay Scarpetta and Patricia Cornwell, I will not be watching this movie," said another. "Jolie just does not fit the Scarpetta profile."

But Cornwell, of course, gets the last word, and apparently she has met with Jolie and was very impressed. "Angelina had pithy things to say about what she
wanted to do [with the character]," Cornwell is reported to have said about Jolie.

In fact, she says, it was her meeting with Jolie last spring – and Jolie's interest in the project – that Cornwell says was "crucial" to making the long-discussed film a reality.

Scarpetta's fans have no choice at this point but to either wait till the fall and see – or to simply return to their books.

Marjorie Kehe is the Monitor's book editor.

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