Nicole Holofcener doesn't make a ton of movies, so when a new one is announced it's a pretty big deal to fans of her work. Last year we learned she'd be following up 2013's terrific Enough Said with an adaptation of forger Lee Israel's memoir, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, with Julianne Moore set to star alongside Chris O'Dowd. Unfortunately, Moore dropped out due to creative differences and somewhere along the way Holofcener got too busy, but a surprising new star and director have joined that are just as promising.
Variety reports that Melissa McCarthy has signed up to replace Moore in the dark comedy. Directing will be Marielle Heller (Diary of a Teenage Girl) working from Holofcener's screenplay which is being retained. The film centers on Israel, an author who fell on hard time and turned to selling forgeries from dead celebrities to get by. Here's the book's synopsis:
"Before turning to the criminal life, running a onewoman forgery scam out of an Upper West Side studio shared with her tortoiseshell cat, and dodging the FBI, Lee Israel enjoyed a celebrated reputation as an author. When her writing career suddenly took a turn for the worse, she conceived of the astonishing literary scheme that fooled even many of the experts. Forging hundreds of letters from such collectible luminaries as Dorothy Parker, Noël Coward, and Lillian Hellman — and recreating their autographs with a flourish — Israel sold her “memorabilia” to dealers across the country, producing a collection of pitch-perfect imitations virtually indistinguishable from the voices of their real-life counterparts. Exquisitely written, with reproductions of her marvelous forgeries, Can You Ever Forgive Me? is Israel’s delightful, hilarious memoir of a brilliant and audacious literary crime caper."
There's no mention of O'Dowd in Variety's piece so he may have dropped off as well. Filming doesn't begin until next year as Heller is crazy busy right now. She has the fantasy romance drama Kolma starring Daisy Ridley and produced by J.J. Abrams; followed by gay marriage film The Case Against 8.