Jodie Foster is set to direct a film about the 1911 theft of Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.
The project will be based on Seymour Reit’s 1981 book The Day They Stole the Mona Lisa, which delves into how Vincenzo Peruggia, an employee of the Louvre museum in Paris, had managed to steal the portrait and walk out with it hidden under his coat.
Confirming the news to Deadline at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah, producer Jeffrey Soros noted that he expects the film to be a thrilling drama.
“This happened in 1911, and it was the thing that made the Mona Lisa so famous… We have got a whole new script for Jodie Foster to direct,” he told the publication. “This is in the mould of (classic movie) The Thomas Crown Affair… It is a fun story, and the crime itself is not sophisticated. Our story mixes truth and fiction, and the focus is on the characters behind orchestrating the theft.”
An Italian patriot, Peruggia believed the famous painting should be exhibited in Italy, and ultimately kept it in his apartment for two years before being caught trying to sell it to an art dealer in Florence. The Mona Lisa was returned to the Louvre in 1914, with Peruggia serving six months in prison over the crime.
Screenwriter Bill Wheeler, known for his work on films like Queen of Katwe, Ghost in the Shell, and The Lego Ninjago movie, will pen the script.
Meanwhile, the film marks Foster’s next major directing gig, with the Oscar-winning actress previously having helmed 1991’s Little Man Tate, 1995’s Home for the Holidays, 2011’s The Beaver, and 2016’s Money Monster.
© Cover Media