Israel, a high-profile magazine writer and celebrity biographer who had written about Estée Lauder and Tallulah Bankhead, was down on her luck and running short of money. Then she hit upon a unique scheme, forging and selling letters allegedly written by deceased writers, including Noël Coward and Dorothy Parker. She advanced to stealing actual letters and papers from archives and libraries, replacing them with her forgeries.
She pleaded guilty in 1993 to conspiracy to transporting stolen property, serving six months of house arrest. She later wrote a slightly bragging memoir – which the film borrows for its title – about her criminal exploits.
Director Marielle Heller (The Diary of a Teenage Girl) explores the complicated life of Israel, played by Melissa McCarthy. The film also stars Jane Curtin, Richard E. Grant, Jennifer Westfeldt, Dolly Wells, and Anna Deavere Smith.
Producers include Anne Carey, Amy Nauiokas, David Yarnell, with screenplay by Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty. The film opens on October 19.