EXCLUSIVE: Universal Pictures and Imagine Entertainment have set screenwriter Kristin Gore to write a psychological thriller based on the Jon Ronson book The Psychopath Test. Scarlett Johansson is attached to star and Jay Roach to direct. Brian Grazer will produce along with Roach and his Everyman Pictures banner, and Finola Dwyer and Amanda Posey. Erica Huggins and Jennifer Perini will be exec producers.
Roach and Gore are separately teamed up for the HBO comedy pilot Women In Space, about a group of women on a mission to colonize another planet, with Gore writing and Roach directing. Erik Baiers will oversee for the studio.
Ronson, who wrote The Men Who Stare At Goats, here tackles how the medical community tries to diagnose and classify an elusive group: remorseless, deadly psychopaths. They say one out of every hundred people is a psychopath, devoid of empathy, manipulative, deceitful, charming, seductive, and delusional. The book explores their world and the madness industry. Published by Picador and Riverhead Books, it was a bestseller here and in the UK.
It is understandable that Universal would want to build projects around Johansson after the EuropaCorp-produced Lucy grossed nearly $460 million worldwide for the studio.
Gore, the daughter of former Vice President Al Gore, is a former Harvard Lampoon editor who has written for Saturday Night Live and Futurama, and the Oscarcast. She recently co-wrote the Sundance pic Indie War Story. She has been this close to getting credit on several plum projects, collaborating with David O Russell on Nailed, Spike Jonze on Her and with Bennett Miller on Foxcatcher but not getting credit. She’s currently writing a Sony feature vehicle for Channing Tatum that Craig Zadan and Neil Meron will produce with Tatum and Reid Carolin.
Johansson is represented by CAA, LBI Entertainment and Morris Yorn Barnes. Gore is represented by CAA and Bloom Hergott. Roach is with WME and Mosaic.