Angelina Jolie and Darren Aronofsky are in talks to team up for an adaptation of Ron Rash's 2008 period-thriller "Serena: A Novel."
The novel centers on a man named George Pemberton and his new bride, Serena, as they set out to depression-era North Carolina to create a timber empire. Their successful, ruthless reign in the mountains becomes complicated when Serena discovers her inability to bear child, setting her on a vengeful path against George's illegitimate son.
It definitely has a bit of a Paul Thomas Anderson's "There Will Be Blood" feel to it, with the industrial empires, period setting and family drama. Interestingly, Anderson's 2008 masterpiece is also compared to 'Serena' with respect to a potential budget — "There Will Be Blood" was made for only $25 million.
Here's the Amazon synopsis, the Jolie character sounds like a wicked Lady McBeth-type character in a "McCabe & Mrs.Miller," "Cold Mountain" or "Jeremiah Johnson"-like inhospitable setting.
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 rattle-snakes, 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.
Rash's masterful balance of violence and beauty yields a riveting novel that, at its core, tells of love both honored and betrayed.
Aronofksy recently completed his ballerina-thriller "Black Swan" and is subsequently on the hunt for new projects. As is Jolie who, despite being linked to an Alfonso Cuaron sci-fi project called "Gravity" earlier this week, seems to only have her medical examiner drama based on the character Kay Scarpetta novels in development. She was also recently rumored to be involved with Bret Easton Ellis script "The Golden Suicides" which Gus Van Sant is attached to, though that's likely just wishful thinking on Easton Ellis' part.
The Chris Kyle-scribed adaptation of 'Serena' is being produced by Nick Wechsler and is currently seeking financing, which shouldn't be too hard if/when Jolie and Aronofsky get on board.