A still from the trailer for the 2013 documentary “The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne.” Codeblack Films, a division of Lionsgate, now is reportedly producing a biopic about the famed jewel thief.
New York--Infamous jewel thief Doris Payne is getting her own biopic in which she will be played by “Westworld” actress Tessa Thompson.

The actress, whose credits also include “Thor: Ragnarok,” “Creed,” and “Dear White People,” confirmed the news in a Feb. 13 tweet.

Variety reports the currently untitled project will be produced by Codeblack Films, a division of Lionsgate.

According to the story, the film is slated to be a “high-concept action-drama” like “Catch Me If You Can,” the movie featuring Leonardo DiCaprio that centered on teenage con artist Frank Abagnale, or “The Thomas Crown Affair,” in which a rich bank executive steals a Monet.

Lionsgate did not respond to a request for more information by press time.

Payne’s career of snatching jewelry from stores spans decades; the now-87-year old has a criminal record dating back to the 1950s.

Her M.O. was to enter a jewelry store posing as an affluent woman and ask staff to see a variety of pieces, charming and distracting them until they forget how many were out and she could walk away with one or two pieces.

In the 1970s, Payne stole a 10-carat diamond ring from Cartier in Monte Carlo. She was later caught by police but was let go when they couldn’t find the ring.

Most recently, Payne pleaded guilty to shoplifting at a Georgia Walmart to avoid jail time.

WATCH: The 2013 documentary “The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne” trailer
Her life already has received the documentary treatment with the release of “The Life and Crimes of Doris Payne” in 2013. In it, she describes many of her crimes in detail.

Variety reported in 2009 that Halle Berry was slated to play Payne in a new film, but the project never got off the ground.

If Thompson’s Twitter account and reactions are any indication, many people are very intrigued by Payne and excited about the prospect of a biopic.

But Jewelers Security Alliance President John J. Kennedy told National Jeweler that he worries how it might portray Payne.

“I hope any media item or show about Doris Payne doesn’t try to glamorize her or make her stealing seem like fun,” Kennedy said. “The victims she has stolen from over a lifetime are hard-working jewelers who have suffered financially and emotionally due to her unrepentant life of theft.”

He added, “Reality would portray her life as a disgrace. I believe completely in artistic freedom, but I hope that the sordid truth of her lifelong criminal activity is made clear.”

|Subscribe >
National Jeweler

Fine Jewelry Industry News

Since 1906, National Jeweler has been the must-read news source for smart jewelry professionals--jewelry retailers, designers, buyers, manufacturers, and suppliers. From market analysis to emerging jewelry trends, we cover the important industry topics vital to the everyday success of jewelry professionals worldwide. National Jeweler delivers the most urgent jewelry news necessary for running your day-to-day jewelry business here, and via our daily e-newsletter, website and other specialty publications, such as "The State of the Majors." National Jeweler is published by Jewelers of America, the leading nonprofit jewelry association in the United States.