EXCLUSIVE: In her first major foray into television, Scarlett Johansson is set to star in and executive produce Just Cause, a thriller limited series based on John Katzenbach’s 1992 novel. In a very competitive situation, the project, from writer Christy Hall (I’m Not OK With This, Daddio), Johansson’s These Pictures banner and Warner Bros. TV, has landed at Amazon Studios with a straight-to-series order for Prime Video.
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In the TV adaptation, the book’s male protagonist, Miami newspaper editorial writer Matt Cowart, is undergoing a gender swap, with Johansson playing the series’ female lead Madison “Madi” Cowart, a struggling reporter for a Florida newspaper sent to cover the final days of an inmate on death row.
Two-time Oscar-nominated Johannson has a personal connection to the title. At age 10, she appeared in Warner Bros.’ 1995 feature adaptation of Katzenbach’s book in only her second film role. She played the daughter of the main character, who was revamped as Harvard law professor Paul Armstrong and was played by Sean Connery. (You can watch a scene between the two of them below)
Hall executive produces the Just Cause limited series alongside Johansson, Jonathan Lia and Keenan Flynn of These Pictures. Zara Duff, Head of Television for These Pictures, is overseeing for the company. Warner Bros. TV is the studio.
The cast of the 1995 Just Cause film, directed by Arne Glimcher, also starred Laurence Fishburne, Kate Capshaw, Ruby Dee and Ed Harris.
These Pictures is currently in production on the Greg Berlanti-directed Apple film Project Artemis, in which Johansson also stars opposite Channing Tatum.
Johansson, who ended her tenure in the MCU with her final outing as Black Widow in the standalone Marvel film, reprised her voice role as Ash in the Sing sequel. She can be seen in Wes Anderson’s next film Asteroid City. In TV, Johansson is known for her five hosting stints on Saturday Night Live and additional appearances as Ivanka Trump. She also had a recurring voiceover role on Robot Chicken. Johansson is repped by CAA and Kevin Yorn at Yorn Levine.
Hall, a LA-based playwright and screenwriter, co-developed and executive produced the Netflix/21 Laps 2020 series I’m Not OK With This, an adaptation of Charles Foreman’s graphic novel.
She is next making her directorial debut with Daddio, which she adapted from her play of the same name. Dakota Johnson and Sean Penn star in the movie, which starts production this week. Hall also wrote the English language remake of Joachim Trier’s film Thelma, for FilmNation and Craig Gillespie, and also adapted Hold Back the Stars for Dan Cohen at 21 Laps and Lionsgate and Stephen King’s The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon for Vertigo and Village Roadshow. In TV, Hall recently served as consulting producer on Apple’s Servant and the upcoming Untitled Damien Chazelle. Hall is repped by CAA, Grandview, and attorney Miles Metcoff.
Justin Kroll contributed to this report.