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James Ivory to adapt ‘New Yorker’ story into a film for Alexander Payne

The story was written by long-time collaborator Ruth Prawer Jhabvala.

Academy Award-winning screenwriter and filmmaker James Ivory will adapt the New Yorker short story The Judge’s Will (2013) for the big screen, Deadline reported. The film of the same name will be directed by Alexander Payne (About Schmidt, The Descendants) and produced by Fox Searchlight.

The Judge’s Will , written by Ivory’s long-time collaborator Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, narrates the story of a woman in Delhi who learns that her dying husband has a mistress of many years, whom he has included in his will. The story’s setting may be moved from India to Chicago for the film, the Deadline report said.

“It’s a universal enough premise, the business of a wealthy man having a mistress and wanting to take care of her after he dies,” Ivory told Deadline. “You feel her [Jhabvala] influence, her way of thinking about people and relationships. There were people she wasn’t fond of when she met them, and in time grew to like them very much and she didn’t hold on to her dislikes. The family, needing to take care of the mistress, to worry about her, that seems a very Ruth way of looking at things.”

Jhabvala, who died in 2013, had written several novels and 23 screenplays for Merchant Ivory Productions, the joint production venture of Ivory and his partner Ismail Merchant. She won a Booker Prize for her 1975 novel Heat and Dust and two Academy Awards for Best Adapted Screenplay (A Room With a View, 1985 and Howard’s End, 1992).

In 2018, 89-year-old Ivory won an Oscar for his screenplay for Luca Guadagnino’s drama Call Me by Your Name (2017), becoming the oldest person to win the award.

Call Me By Your Name (2017).
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