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My Scarpetta Movie Castings!

Around this time last year I did a post about what my choices would be for Stephanie Plum Movie Castings, if she were ever to come to the big screen.  There has been a lot of debate about it, but I still stand firmly behind my selections.

The other day I saw an article on the MOVIETASTIC website SCREENRANT about the Patricia Cornwell’s Scarpetta Series (one of my other favorites) being made into a movie.  Who did they choose to play the lead role of Dr. Kay Scarpetta?  None other than Angelina Jolie *Shock horror*  I’m not so not on board.  I have nothing against Angelina Jolie and have enjoyed her in many of her films, but she is wrong for this part. So so wrong.

Scarpetta Article on SCREENRANT

Here is the description of Kay Scarpetta from Wikipedia (may contain spoilers):

Dr. Kay Scarpetta was born in Miami, Florida. She is of Italian descent on both sides of her family, with the Scarpettas emigrating from Verona, Italy. She is blonde, and a sharp dresser, although always professional. As a young girl, she watched her father die slowly from leukemia, and the experience remained with her ever since, translating into her everyday work life, where she is surrounded by death. She is a perfectionist, an incredibly hard worker, completely immersed in her work.

Scarpetta loves to cook, particularly Italian food. She makes everything from scratch, including pasta and bread, and has a beautiful, custom-built restaurant kitchen in her home.

She was married once, to Tony Benedetti; they divorced about 6 years before the beginning of the first novel Postmortem. Since then she had a serious relationship with Mark James, who dies in a bombing in a London Tube station (in the novel Cruel and Unusual) and later Benton Wesley, who is apparently killed in Point of Origin but later reappears. In 2007’s The Book of the Dead, Scarpetta and Wesley become engaged. By the beginning of 2008’s Scarpetta, Benton and Kay are married.

Patricia Cornwell on WikipediaHaving not read the books nor being too familiar with the author, she might sound right for this role, but not to me.  She is too young, too brunette and too beautiful.  Not that I don’t imagine Scarpetta to be attractive, but I think in an attempt to bring in viewers they are overlooking what Scarpetta is really made of and trying to make her a bit more of a heartthrob than she really is.

I always saw Scarpetta as more like the author herself.  In her mid to late 40’s, classy, no nonsense, down to earth and someone you really take seriously.  Jolie really does not fit the bill here, she is too much of a young bombshell for this role, I’m afraid.  I mean while we are at it, why not get Brad in to play Marino, since we’re not giving any thought to how the characters are described in the book.   Maybe one of the Jonas brothers can make their acting debut as Benton.

I will give it a chance, and I will probably love the movie as I did this series, at least until the books started sucking later on around the Blowfly stage.

If I had my way, this is how they would fill the roles for this movie.


There are a two actresses I could accept in this role.  Either of which would make a far better Kay Scarpetta than Angelina Jolie.


Mariska Hargitay, or Detective Olivia Benson to you, bitches!  This gal rocks Law & Order: SVU and I think she’d make a pretty great Kay.  Playing detective on TV doesn’t make for much of a stretch of the imagination to see her as a medical examiner.   She can play this kind of serious role and we know from watching her on SVU that she has a great range of emotion in her acting.  She could really bring Kay to life.

She has just the right amount of beauty and just the right amount of kickass.   The only worry is that she may not be able to pull off the class that Kay has that Det. Benson doesn’t.  We’ve never seen her in that kind of role to know if she can really carry it.  I think she is not one to be underestimated though.

The Alternative

Joan Allen

If you don’t recognize Joan Allen by her real name, you may remember her as Pamela Landy from the Bourne movies.  Like Mariska, we’ve seen her in Detective type roles and we know she’s got the acting chops to take on Kay.

She’s also got the look.  She’s blond, the right age range and playing a classy sort of up scale medical examiner would not be out of her reach.  I think she also has the appeal that would make her believable in any romantic situation as there is a softer side to her that we don’t see often with Mariska.

My only concern with her is that she tends to get a little too skinny at times and ends up looking lanky and pointy.  She’d need to stay healthy and strong to be able to be a good Kay Scarpetta.  Kay is no slouch but she loves to cook, nobody would believe a thin little waif in this part.

The Long Shot

There is one more person that I feel looks like I imagine Kay Scarpetta to look but there are a few doubts in regards to her pulling off the role.  I call her my long shot because while I know the deck is stacked against her, something in me REALLY likes her for this role… maybe even more than the other two.

Edie Falco

Nurse Jackie, I mean… Edie Falco, is one of my favorites.  I loved her when I first saw her playing a prison guard in OZ and then loved her a little more as a take no shit mob bosses wife in The Sopranos.  I recently fell head over heels in love with her in her latest role as a pill popping, cheating, swearing, all around mischief making nurse in Nurse Jackie.

We already know she looks great in scrubs.  She’s got the hair, the age, the ability to play the type of character who kicks ass and takes names.  She’s definitely done the Italian thing (Hello? Carmela!) Don’t you just look at her and SEE Kay?!  I know I do…

The only thing is, there are also things working against her.   Other than her role in Oz, her more popular characters have been very sarcastic and over the top.  Is she able to play a serious role and give Kay the maturity, elegance and intelligence that is needed to really make her real?   I don’t know.  I’ve never seen her in that type of role so there is no way to tell.  There’s also her voice, which could possibly be a little… shrill??… for Kay.  That’s nothing a little work wouldn’t fix though.

I don’t know, they just feel right to me somehow.  We’ll never know though because ANGELINA JOLIE has the part. God help us.


This will depend on what age they have Lucy in the book.  I’m guessing that to get the most out of her, she will be in her late 20’s or early 30’s and already working for the FBI.  They would be foolish to have her still be a child or a teen in the film as a lot of Lucy’s later antics would make for great drama in the theater.

Description of Lucy from Wikipedia (maybe a little spoilery too):

Lucy is first introduced in Postmortem as a precocious 10 year old, the only child of Kay’s flighty, irresponsible, narcissistic sister. She has a natural aptitude for computers and easily learns UNIX, which she later uses while working for the FBI. She looks to her aunt Kay for stability and understanding, and although is frequently sulky in her adolescence, shapes herself into a very strong woman with Kay’s model to follow. She enters the FBI at 18, but is not well accepted due to her sexuality (she is a lesbian) and her genius IQ. Lucy has had a few long-term romantic relationships, but also several one-night stands—even a few with men. She also engages in other risky behavior, with firearms and various high-speed vehicles.

Angelina Jolie

Hello! Miscast much?!  Who is better at playing the hot, sexually ambiguous, dangerous misfit than Angelina Jolie?!  Ok, so she may be trying to edge her way out of these types of roles, wanting to take on more serious and mature characters… but shit, if the shoe fits!

Lucy is Angelina Jolie.  Angelina Jolie is Lucy.  Seriously, it’s that simple.

Re-cast please.  She will still bring all the boys to the yard.

The Alternative

Olivia Wilde

Paging Thirteen to the casting couch, STAT!

Olivia Wilde makes a great alternative to play Lucy.  She doesn’t have the action background of Jolie, nor is she as voluptuous, but she’s got the edge and the sex appeal.  If you’ve ever watched her as ‘Thirteen’ on House you’ll also know that the whole lesbian thing is nothing new to her.

If she can pull off the physical aspects of playing Lucy, which will probably include jumping out of all things high, shooting guns and just generally being dangerous… I think she can easily do all the rest.  She does angry well and that will work in her favor because Lucy tends to carry a big chip on her shoulder.   I don’t think she is the same caliber of actress as Jolie, but she would bring her own charm to the role.  Wilde (25) also has youth on her side, whereas Jolie (34) won’t be able to pull off the late 20’s roles much longer, if she still can at all.


Let’s have a look at the description of Marino on Wikipedia:

In the earlier books of the series, Pete Marino worked as a homicide detective for the Richmond police department, eventually rising to the rank of Captain. Physically, Pete is big (to the point of corpulence) and balding. His high blood pressure, heavy smoking, and borderline alcoholism trouble Dr. Scarpetta, who worries about his long-term health. Marino is an excellent detective and has worked well for many years with Dr. Scarpetta, eventually joining her at the National Forensic Academy after retiring from the police force in Predator. Marino seems to have problems with women through the whole Scarpetta series stemming from a prior marriage which resulted in a son who dabbles in criminal activity. Throughout the series Marino plays a great part in the upbringing of Lucy, although it seems that he has issues with her sexuality.

Pete Marino grew up in Bayonne, New Jersey.

This may be a coincidence, or maybe I just have a bit of a love affair with The Sopranos, but only one person comes to mind when I think of Pete Marino.  He’s the man that came into my head as I read the books, and when I read the description now he’s still the first to pop into my mind.

James Gandolfini

Oh yeah, that’s right.  The big man himself… James Gandolfini!  Playing Tony Soprano, the mob boss, was no big deal for this guy.  Seeing him on the other side of the law would be great!  Marino is not your ordinary cop though, so Gandolfini’s darker side can come out and play from time to time too.

He has the physique to pull off Marino’s larger frame (he may even have to gain a few pound!) and having mastered the panic attack in The Sopranos, I think he can do the sweaty, drunken, heart attack waiting to happen that makes Marino the man he is.  Unlike the rest, there is really nothing negative about him at all.  There’s nothing that makes me think he isn’t absolutely perfect for this role.

The Alternative


Bruce Campbell would be my next choice to play Marino.  I know he’s not someone who might come to the mind of most of the Scarpetta fans, but he’s good. SO good.   Sure he’s not as big as Marino is described to be, but if we are supposed to accept Jolie as Scarpetta with all the differences… there’s no reason we can’t see him as Marino too.

I recently watched a show called Burn Notice with Campbell playing the sidekick role.  A former navy seal, loving the action, women and mojitos, he’s the full package.  He could play someone with a drinking problem and he could play a cop.  If we are trying to pretty up the characters to make them for film friendly, there’s also a certain sex appeal to this guy.  He could be Marino without the bits that turn you off about him.


Benton Wesley according to Wikipedia (spoilers):

Benton is an FBI profiler. He and Scarpetta work together on many cases, at first on a strictly professional level. As their relationship progresses, they end up having an affair, which goes on for years. However, once Benton is no longer with his wife, he and Kay have problems because they are both too independent. In Point of Origin Benton disappears; his body is found at the scene of a fire, badly burned and showing signs of having been tortured extensively. Kay identifies the body by the Breitling watch she had given Benton. In Blow Fly it is later revealed that he is not dead, but had been hiding for years in order to trap a cunning serial killer: another body, suitably damaged, had been planted at the scene. Kay is shaken to her core, and furious at Wesley for letting her believe he was dead for so long. In Book of the Dead, Kay and Benton become engaged, and are married by the beginning of Scarpetta.

I always imagined Benton to be older than Scarpetta.  He’s distinguished looking, masculine and attractive.  Not overly masculine though, while he’s still quite serious about his job, there’s a softer side there.  I never had any one person in mind for this part, just a type.  So I had to think about this one a bit.

Richard Gere

Richard Gere was the first actor I came up with.  He’s a silver fox that can do serious and a bit of action while still being able to be a great romantic leading man.

I can see him as an FBI profiler, and I can definitely see him sweeping Kay off her feet, even if it has to be Angelina Jolie.  There aren’t many women in Hollywood that he couldn’t make fall in love with him in a film.  It’s believable and I think he’s the full package for this one.   I love him for this.

…and I’m not just saying that because he’ll always be Edward to me.


The Alternative

Liam Neeson

I had a hard time deciding between Liam Neeson and John Slattery for my alternative but decided in the end that Liam was my choice.  He’s more masculine and has a bit of mystery about him that would work well in the role of Wesley.

I don’t think he has quite as much romantic appeal as Richard Gere, but he makes up for it in his experience in action films.  He’d easily pass for an FBI agent and he does still have some appeal as a leading man too.

Shame he’d probably have to drop that sexy accent though.



Angelina Jolie should totally be in this movie, just not as Scarpetta.  There are a lot of options in regards to who can play all the supporting roles, and I hope they choose well.  I fear that they’ll try to Hollywood this whole thing up, making the characters all younger, fitter, and more attractive than they are in the book.  I understand this may need to be done at times to bring people into the theaters, but they don’t want to take everything away from what was created in the books either.   I’m surprised Cornwell agreed to Jolie and I’m very curious to see the rest of the cast when they are chosen.

Are you a fan of the Scarpetta series?  What do you think about Jolie playing her in the film?  Any ideas on who you would like for the supporting roles? I’m curious to hear who you imagine to play all of these characters too.

About Tammy

A Canadian living in France with her Dutch hubby after 17 years in the Netherlands. A total TV and movie junkie who is never not knitting. She also enjoys other crafts, nail art, cuddling her dogs and general geekery. Otherwise just working on getting by and making a life for herself in her 'new' country.

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  1. I too always pictured Kay as Patricia Cornwell. My Lucy was always Alicia Witt. I can’t picture anyone mainstream as Marino or Benton.

  2. Lucy would be the one most difficult to cast, I think. They’d need to find someone who has the right balance of fragility and toughness, so I’m thinking an unknown actress, but to visualise this “Lucy-ness”, I always see Noomi Rapace. Lucy and Lisbeth Salander are alike in many ways, too.

    Scarpetta is easy, though – Jodie Foster would be perfect for the role. If Jane Curtin weren’t such a comic-type actress she’d have worked as well.

    Mark Harmon would suit the character of Benton Wesley, I can’t see anyone but him when I think of Wesley.

    At some other site, it was suggested that Ron Perlman might make a good Marino, and I suppose Gandolfini too.

    The important thing is obviously the characters need to be believable, which I can’t see Jolie being. The movie might not attract the fans of the series (I won’t see it if Jolie’s in it) but gain those fans of Jolie’s, and those who haven’t read the books.

  3. I agree that Angelina Jolie is all wrong for Kay, but, sometimes actors can surprise us. Most americans HATED the idea of Vivian Leigh playing Scarlet O’hara. I, too, always sort of pictured Cornwell as Kay, but wouldn’t Gillian Anderson be a good choice? She is about the right age, small in stature, and could be made pretty blonde. Wesley is a tough choice. I agree John Slattery looks perfect, but he is so well known I’m not sure I could ever really picture him as Wesley. And the guy from NYPD Blue is probably too small for Marino. Marino is supposed to be a tall man.

  4. I also pictured Cornwell as Scarpetta, but I do agree that Robin Wright or Kristin Scott Thomas would work. I can’t work up much enthusiasm for Benton who comes across as a cold fish. However, I always pictured a beardless William Petersen (Grissom from CSI). Probably not good looking or tall enough but I can’t change that picture in my head. John Slattery (Mad Men, Desperate Housewives) or Mark Harmon would fit. Angelina is too old for Lucy but I can definitely see Olivia Wilde in that role.

  5. I am a great fan of Scarpetta series and I definitely agree with your cast- but how about Kristen Scott Thomas as Kay? She has a smart, proud and dignified appearance, I always imagine Kay to be ( although she has Italian roots)..

  6. I could not agree with you more on the Angelina Jolie part, it may just spoil it for, I never considered Mariska but now u mention it she would be a great fit, love the idea of Olivia Wilde as Lucy!

  7. I have been a fan of the books for years and have often thought Mariska Hargitay would be the perfect choice to play Scarpetta.

  8. Definitely Mariska for Kay,
    Angelina for Lucy
    But I see John Goodman for Marino
    Mark Harmon as Benton

    Looking forward to the movie.
    Is Angelina an absolute for Kay?

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