From The Carters’ “Apeshit” to Mike Newell’s Mona Lisa Smile, references to the da Vinci painting behind glass at the Louvre are ubiquitous in popular culture. A new, and currently untitled, film to be directed by Jodie Foster explores one reason why the Renaissance painting, with that famous half smile, mystifies so many across the globe: a 1911 robbery that helped catapult the painting to stardom.
The film is based on the novel The Day They Stole the Mona Lisa from Seymour Reit and will be financed by the Los Angeles Media Fund.
“This happened in 1911, and it was the thing that made the Mona Lisa so famous,” Jeffrey Soros, Principal at Los Angeles Media Fund, told Deadline. “It was developed by Phoenix [Pictures], which is still involved, but we have got a whole new script that Bill Wheeler is writing for Jodie Foster to direct. This is in the mold of The Thomas Crown Affair, with The Sting also a plot device comp. 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.”
The drama will be Foster’s first time directing a feature film since Money Monster (2016). Previously, the Oscar winner directed The Beaver (2011), Home for the Holidays (1995) and Little Man Tate (1991). Foster recently appeared in the Anton Yelchin documentary Love, Antosha (2019) and acted in the dystopian thriller Hotel Artemis (2018).