Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta novel series is headed to television.
Jamie Lee Curtis’ Comet Pictures and Blumhouse Televison have secured the rights to the books and are developing them as an hour-long drama series centered on the eponymous forensic pathologist.
Halloween star Curtis, who has a first-look deal with Blumhouse, is a big fan of and friends with the hugely successful author, who has sold over 100M books. She has regularly moderated conversations with Cornwell, who is famously protective of her creation, and calls her a “bonafide literary trailblazer”.
The Kay Scarpetta series features 25 books starting with Postmortem in 1990 and the upcoming Autopsy.
It marks the latest development in a long-road to screen for Scarpetta, which ten years ago saw Angelina Jolie attached to play her in a feature film, from Fox 2000, that never got off the ground. Similarly, in 1992, Columbia Pictures optioned Cruel and Unusual, the fourth book in the series to make as a film with Demi Moore in the lead role.
There have also been other attempts to get a Cornwell-created TV show off the ground; in 2018, NBC paired the author, Spider-Man producer Matt Tolmach and S.W.A.T. writer Samantha Humphrey to develop Red Stick, based on an original character, while CBS and ABC also developed projects with Cornwell in 2014 and 2013 respectively.
Scarpetta is a fictional, brilliant and beautiful, forensic pathologist, who is the protagonist in the popular series of crime novels. Inspired by former Virginia Chief Medical Examiner Marcella Farinelli Fierro, she uses forensic technology to solve crimes. The character is of Italian descent and across the novels is based in Florida, Virginia, and Charleston, South Carolina.
Blumhouse Television is currently in the process of identifying a showrunner and casting.
Patricia Cornwell, Jamie Lee Curtis, Jason Blum, Chris McCumber and Jeremy Gold will serve as executive producers.
“I’ve had the honor and pleasure of knowing Jamie for a number of years, and have come to respect her hugely as an artist and a stellar human being. Blumhouse is a creative force of nature, and I’m confident that Scarpetta is going to make it to the screen in a fantastic way,” said Patricia Cornwell. “To say I’m thrilled is an understatement, and I have no doubt my readers will feel the same.”
“Patricia Cornwell is a bonafide literary trailblazer, and collaborating with her to bring her beloved character Kay Scarpetta to life through the power of television and to introduce her to an entirely new audience is exciting,” said executive producer Jamie Lee Curtis. “The confluence of Blumhouse and Comet bringing to life a dark, fun and layered work world and family life, spearheaded by the smart and sexy indomitable Kay Scarpetta is going to be a thrilling ride.”
“We are so honored to be partnering with one of the most successful authors in history in Patricia Cornwell,” said Chris McCumber, Blumhouse Television president. “Kay Scarpetta has been a much sought after character, for a long time, and we are excited to finally bring her to life on television. We are also grateful to Jamie Lee Curtis for connecting the Blumhouse team to Patricia, and to Patricia for trusting us with her iconic creation.”