Scarlett Johansson's latest project sounds a little spooky. She's signed on to star in an adaptation of Jon Ronson's book "The Psychopath Test," a non-fiction book about psychopaths and "the madness industry." It's not exactly clear how the book will be adapted into a narrative, or where Johansson will fit in, but it's being described as "a psychological thriller." Here's the Amazon description of the book:
When Jon Ronson is drawn into an elaborate hoax played on some of the world's top scientists, his investigation leads him, unexpectedly, to psychopaths. He meets an influential psychologist who is convinced that many important business leaders and politicians are in fact high-flying, high-functioning psychopaths, and teaches Ronson how to spot them. Armed with these new abilities, Ronson meets a patient inside an asylum for the criminally insane who insists that he's sane, a mere run-of-the-mill troubled youth, not a psychopath - a claim that might be only manipulation, and a sign of his psychopathy. He spends time with a death-squad leader institutionalized for mortgage fraud, and with a legendary CEO who took joy in shutting down factories and firing people. He delves into the fascinating history of psychopathy diagnosis and treatments, from LSD-fueled days-long naked therapy sessions in prisons to attempts to understand serial killers.
Ronson also wrote the book "The Men Who Stare At Goats," which was turned into a movie starring George Clooney and Ewan McGregor, and the screenplay for "Frank," which was based on his experiences as a young wanna-be musician. His most recent release is "So You've Been Publicly Shamed," about people whose lives have been ruined by social media. His work is intelligent, snappy, and fun to read, although it seems rather difficult to translate to the big screen.
As for "The Psychopath Test," Scarlett Johansson could definitely play a psychologist or scientist, but wouldn't it be more interesting if she appeared as one of the psychopaths Ronson meets during his investigation? The star has found great success in the past few years by playing with and subverting her public persona as a bombshell with roles in movies like "Under the Skin,""Her," and "Lucy."
Jay Roach is attached to produce and direct, which should be interesting; he's known more for comedies like "Meet the Parents" and "Austin Powers in Goldmember" than he is for more serious fare like the HBO TV movie "Game Change." Kristin Gore is penning the script; her credits range from "Saturday Night Live" to collaborations on David O. Russell's "Accidental Love," formerly known as "Nailed," "Her," and "Foxatcher."