ManOfTheCenturyMovie Tv Cord Jefferson to Write Gender-Swapped Series Adaptation of ‘Just Cause’ Starring Scarlett Johansson

Cord Jefferson to Write Gender-Swapped Series Adaptation of ‘Just Cause’ Starring Scarlett Johansson



Cord Jefferson already has his post-“American Fiction” project in the works.

Jefferson (“Watchmen”) will return to TV to write and executive produce the adaptation of John Katzenbach’s 1992 novel “Just Cause” for Amazon Prime Video. He’s up for it: “American Fiction,” culled from Percival Everett’s “Erasure,” was Jefferson’s first adaptation. We’d say it worked out.

This “Just Cause” will star Scarlett Johansson in the gender-swapped lead role, marking her first major television job. It’s a return to the material for Johansson, who as a 10-year-old starred in the 1995 feature film of the same name starring Sean Connery. Johansson was Connery’s daughter. That version also featured Blair Underwood, Laurence Fishburne, Ed Harris, Ruby Dee, and Kate Capshaw.

John Wells will co-write the series as well as executive produce. Johansson’s production company banner These Pictures produces the TV series adaptation. Variety first reported the news.

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The novel “Just Cause” centers on Miami reporter Matt Cowart who investigates a presumably closed case after receiving a letter from an inmate on death row who swears they are innocent. As Matt gets closer to the truth, a larger conspiracy is uncovered. Johansson will play the female version of Matt, named Madison “Madi” Cowart, for the series.

Jefferson recently said that Spike Lee encouraged him to make a second film as “quickly as possible” after debut feature “American Fiction” was released. He’s received conflicting advice from others.

“On the one hand, there is a school of thought that’s like, ‘You should strike while the iron is hot and try to make your next movie as quickly as possible,’” Jefferson said on Turner Classic Movies’ “Talking Pictures: A Movie Memories Podcast.” “And then I’ve talked to other people who said (to) actually sort of be methodical, slow down, like, you’re going to be allowed to make a second film, so sit with it and really decide what you want the second one to be.”

Jefferson, who signed an overall deal at Warner Bros. in 2020, said he is writing three different scripts for upcoming features.

“Hopefully, I can get those scripts done in the next year and a half and get them to a place that when my deal expires, I can just leap right into pre-production on one of those and get started again,” Jefferson said. “I mean, look, if I can sit down and finish one of these scripts in the next couple of months and it’s to a place that I really, really love, then I’m all for directing another movie quickly if Warner Bros. will allow me. But until it’s really there, I don’t want to try to rush something just to get something out there, because I feel like I need to strike while the iron is hot. Hopefully, there’s somebody out there who believes that I can do this, even if I do it slowly.”

“American Fiction” is Oscar-nominated in the Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Picture categories, along with Best Actor for Jeffrey Wright and Best Supporting Actor for Sterling K. Brown.

Jefferson also isn’t the only Oscar-nominated first-time feature director to have already lined up their next project: “Past Lives” director Celine Song is set to direct A24 romantic comedy “Materialists” starring Dakota Johnson, Chris Evans, and Pedro Pascal. Song’s “Past Lives” is nominated at the 2024 Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay.

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