Angelina Jolie and Darren Aronofsky are in talks to to develop a big-screen adaptation of Serena: A Novel, author Ron Rash's gothic tale of greed, corruption, and revenge set against the backdrop of the 1930s wilderness and America's burgeoning environmental movement. Jolie would star, and Aronofsky would direct.
Nick Wechsler (The Road, The Time Traveler's Wife, Reservation Road) is producing the project, which is quietly making the rounds around town in its search for financing. But work on the script from scibe Chris Kyle (The Weight of Water, K-19: The Widowmaker) is needed before Jolie and Aronofsky can move forward.
Here's an official synopsis for Rash's tome:
The year is 1929, and newlyweds George and Serena Pemberton travel from Boston to the North Carolina mountains where they plan to create a timber empire. Although George has already lived in the camp long enough to father an illegitimate child, Serena is new to the mountains – but she soon shows herself to be the equal of any man, overseeing crews, hunting rattlesnakes, even saving her husband’s life in the wilderness. Together this lord and lady of the woodlands ruthlessly kill or vanquish all who fall out of favor.
Yet when Serena learns that she will never bear a child, she sets out to murder the son George fathered without her. Mother and child begin a struggle for their lives, and when Serena suspects George is protecting his illegitimate family, the Pembertons’ intense, passionate marriage starts to unravel as the story moves toward its shocking reckoning.
That's one twisted premise! I thought The Road was an intense experience. It's definitely a meaty role for Jolie to take on.
The period setting of Serena could be made for a price, if made the way Paul Thomas Anderson fashioned There Will Be Blood, which had a $25 million budget. Defiance, which also took place mainly in the woods, cost $32 million, but also had several war action sequences.
Aronofsky, just wrapped the supernatural thriller Black Swan and is on the hunt for a new project.
Jolie recently dropped out of Wanted 2, which reportedly had the studio scrapping sequel plans, but according to Universal insiders, they are still moving forward with the project without her. She is currently shooting The Tourist with Johnny Depp, and has nothing lined up as a follow-up.