Jolie, Aronofsky eyeing "Serena" adaptation

Angelina Jolie, best actress nominee for "Changeling," arrives at the 81st Academy Awards in Hollywood, California February 22, 2009. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Angelina Jolie and Darren Aronofsky are in discussions to develop a big-screen adaptation of Ron Rash’s 2008 period tome “Serena: A Novel.”

The project would be a starring vehicle for Jolie, who was last in theaters with 2008’s “Changeling.” Aronofsky (“The Wrestler”) would direct.

Set in the rugged mountains of 1929 North Carolina, “Serena” follows a man named George Pemberton and his new bride, Serena, as they create a timber empire. Serena not only takes to the woods, but she also pushes her husband to commit more and more ruthless acts. When she learns she cannot bear a child, Serena sets out to murder the son her husband fathered illegitimately.

The project is quietly making the rounds in its search for financing. Work on the script by Chris Kyle (“The Weight of Water” and “K-19: The Widowmaker”) is also needed before Jolie and Aronofsky can move forward.

Aronofsky, who just wrapped “Black Swan” for Fox Searchlight, is on the hunt for a new project. And he has shown that he is not afraid to go it alone to get a movie made -- as he did with “The Wrestler.”

Jolie remains one of the few actresses who can make or break a movie. It was her interest in “Salt” that got Sony to change the sex of its title character to make that picture, which opens July 23.

Jolie recently dropped out of “Wanted 2,” triggering reports that the thriller was dead. The sequel is alive, according to Universal insiders.

The actress, who is currently shooting “The Tourist” with Johnny Depp, has nothing lined up as a follow-up, though a movie based on the Patricia Cornwell character Kay Scarpetta is one of the stronger contenders on her to-do list.