Renée Zellweger To Headline ‘Jane Smith’ Series In Works At Max Based On James Patterson Novel

Renée Zellweger is set to star in and executive produce Jane Smith, a legal thriller drama from Skydance Television, MGM Television, James Patterson Entertainment, David E. Kelley Productions and Zellweger’s Big Picture Co. The project, based on the bestselling novel 12 Months to Live by James Patterson & Mike Lupica, has landed at Max for development with Miki Johnson (Presumed Innocent, Ozark) as writer and showrunner.

Jane Smith centers on a brilliant, tough, and darkly funny defense attorney in the Hamptons. Up to this point, Jane (Zellweger) has only cared about winning; however, her world is completely turned upside down when, on the eve of the biggest case of her career, she is diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor. While the investigation becomes more dangerous and deeply personal, Jane refuses to let her death sentence stop her from solving this case.

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Johnson will executive produce with Zellweger and Carmela Casinelli for Big Picture Co; Patterson, Bill Robinson, and Patrick Santa for James Patterson Entertainment; Kelley, Matthew Tinker and Checka Propper for David E. Kelley Productions; and David Ellison, Dana Goldberg, and Matt Thunell for Skydance Television.

Published last September, 12 Months To Live is the first book in the Jane Smith series. The second, Hard to Kill, comes out July 29. By naming the TV adaptation Jane Smith, the producers are clearly entertaining the idea of multiple installments based on subsequent novels.

Jane Smith stems from Skydance Television’s exclusive first-look deal with Patterson to develop series based on his books that came out of their collaboration on the upcoming drama Cross for Prime Video. It marks the latest legal thriller for lawyer-turned-top showrunner Kelley, joining current entries such as Netflix’s The Lincoln Lawyer and Apple TV+’s Presumed Innocent, on which Johnson worked.

At Max, Kelley previously spearheaded limited series Love & Death. MGM Television, a division of Amazon MGM Studios, is involved through its first-look deal with Big Picture Co.

An Emmy nominee and WGA Award winner for her writing work on Netflix’s Ozark. Johnson is repped by CAA and Jackoway Austen Tyerman.

Two-time Oscar winner Zellweger, who is currently shooting Bridget Jones: Mad About The Boy, the fourth installment of the hit franchise, is repped by CAA and John Carrabino Management.

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