Jodie Foster has been set the task to direct a currently untitled film on the 1911 heist of the portrait of the ‘Mona Lisa’.

Based on the Seymour Reit book ‘The Day They Stole the Mona Lisa’ the story follows the infamous heist that gave prominence to Leonardo da Vinci’s portrait. The film is said to be in “the mould of ‘The Thomas Crown Affair’, with ‘The Sting’ also a plot device comp”.

Bill Wheeler will pen the script.

In 1911, Vincenzo Peruggia (a former employee at the Louvre in Paris) perpetrated what has been described as the greatest art theft of the 20th century. After keeping the painting hidden in his Paris apartment for two years, Peruggia, believing the painting belonged in Italy, returned to his homeland with it. He kept it in his apartment in Florence, Italy but grew impatient, and was finally caught when he contacted Alfredo Geri, the owner of an art gallery in Florence.

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Geri’s story conflicts with Peruggia’s, but it was clear that Peruggia expected a reward for returning the painting to what he regarded as its “homeland”. Geri called in Giovanni Poggi, director of the Uffizi Gallery, who authenticated the painting. Poggi and Geri, after taking the painting for “safekeeping”, informed the police, who arrested Peruggia at his hotel.

After making her name as a child actress in films such as ‘Taxi Driver’ and most famously ‘Bugsy’ Foster has gone on to have a long and successful career in front of the camera. She had her first directing gig in 1985 on a video segment helming Stephen King’s ‘Golden Tales’. In recent years, she has directed the crime-thriller ‘Money Monster’ starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts and directed an episode of ‘Black Mirror’.