Fox Searchlight’s big-screen adaptation of Lee Israel’s memoir Can You Ever Forgive Me? has finally found its star: Melissa McCarthy is set to play the famous author-turned-forger in the upcoming dark comedy directed by Marielle Heller, EW has confirmed.
Israel, who died in 2014 at age 75, began her career by writing profiles and biographies of famous women, including Katharine Hepburn, Dorothy Kilgallen, and Estée Lauder. After her Lauder biography commercially failed, Israel turned to a criminal career.
In the early ’90s, Israel forged hundreds of letters from deceased writers and actors before getting caught and sentenced to house arrest. In 2008, she released Can You Ever Forgive Me?, where she expressed pride in her criminal past.
Talks of a film adaptation of Israel’s memoir began in early 2015 with Julianne Moore attached to star, but Moore later left the project citing creative differences.