The scandal rocked the literary community. No, not that one; in February 2019, The New Yorker published an extensive report on the suspicious comings and goings of Dan Mallory, pen name A. J. Finn, who wrote the buzzy 2018 novel The Woman in the Window. Hailed as "the next Gone Girl," it shot to the top of the New York Times bestseller list and landed a starry adaptation with Amy Adams as the lead. Except Mallory lied about past jobs, connections, his credentials and health, and even the deaths of his (very much alive) mother and brother. Now, Janicza Bravo, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Annapurna are bringing the story behind the story to the screen.
Deadline reported today, August 20, that Bravo will write and direct a TV series based on "A Suspense Novelist's Trail of Deception," the long-form Ian Parker feature that tracks Mallory's web of bizarre idiosyncrasies, from lying about his mother and brother's deaths in an Oxford application to faking a doctorate, a British accent, and even a brain tumor. Ultimately, the piece concludes Mallory might've lifted the The Woman in the Window's plot from the 1995 film Copycat. Gyllenhaal is set to star as Mallory, with Deadline writing of the plot, "The series will follow an unreliable narrator who nurses brain tumors he does not have and mourns family members who are not dead while preying on people’s sympathy to get away with almost anything."
"What may have started out as my dog ate homework turns into my mother died of cancers, my brother took his life and I have a double doctorate," Bravo said in the statement. “Our protagonist is white, male and pathological. There is a void in him and he fills it by duping people. He’s a scammer. The series examines white identity and how we as an audience participate in making room for this behavior. Getting to partner with Annapurna and Nine Stories is a gift and I am most thrilled for what lies ahead."
This the second TV show about a viral scammer tale in the works; Shonda Rhimes is currently producing Inventing Anna, a series about the rise and fall of socialite Anna Sorokin, for Netflix. In the meantime, Bravo's Zola, based on the 2015 viral Twitter thread written by A’ziah "Zola" King, is set to premiere later this year.
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