Jennifer Lawrence will enter the mobster genre with an upcoming adaptation of Mob Girl, based on the true crime book by Teresa Carpenter. Lawrence will produce and star in the project, which will be directed by Paolo Sorrentino and written by Angelina Burnett.
Variety summarizes the project as being about Arylene Brickman, a real mob informant who “grows up among racketeers on the Lower East Side of New York City where she’s drawn to the glamorous and flashy lifestyle of New York mobsters. Soon after, she begins dating “wiseguys” and running errands for them, before getting in on the action herself — eventually becoming a police informant and a major witness in the government’s case against the Colombo crime family.”
The project will be produced by production company Makeready. CEO and founder Brad Weston said to Variety “Seeing this story from a woman’s point of view is a fresh and exciting approach to telling a classic mob story.We could not imagine a more perfect team of stellar filmmakers, with Jennifer starring in a tour de force role and Paolo at the helm, to bring Arlyne’s strength and unique perspective to life on screen.”
As a huge aficionado of all things related to mob media, I’m somewhat thrilled about getting a mobster film that centers on the female perspective. Too often, gangster stories center on men and the roles of toxic masculinity, with women playing put-upon wives or soon-to-be-dead girlfriends. While I’m more interested in, say, a biopic of Virginia Hill, this project sounds amazing. I’m especially a fan of the fact a woman is tackling the script; that usually promises a more nuanced perspective of women than a male writer trying to adapt a story centered on women.
However, I’m not the biggest fan of Lawrence, so my excitement is somewhat tempered. While I loved her work in Winter’s Bone, her later work is not my favorite. Who else could star? I’m not entirely sure, though I’m sure after I read the book I’ll have some thoughts.
It’s important to shake up the mobster genre. A lot of the time, the social commentary of the genre is mostly focused on men, and also gets lost in a series of “bada bing bada boom” shoot em up misunderstandings that many think seem to glorify a life of toxic masculinity. This isn’t news in all honesty. Many films and shows about the ways the American dream and toxic masculinity betray men are misinterpreted as being about how great it is to be Walter White.
Mob Girl promises a focus on the way that the life of crime and pursuit of the violent elements of the American Dream that centers on a female perspective, which provides a break from the white male perspective. This and upcoming film The Kitchen hopefully will switch up the perspective of the genre to focus on more stories beyond just white men and include stories that allow for complex anti-heroes who aren’t just white men. There’s room in the genre for all sorts of tales, and I hope the rebirth of the genre, should it be coming, will shed light on historical figures and fictionalized ones who exist outside a specific identity.
(via Variety, image: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
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