Fox 2000 has picked up screen rights to Patricia Cornwell's bestselling book series on medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta, and plans to develop the project as a star vehicle for Angelina Jolie.

According to Variety, the studio, producers and Jolie are meeting with writers and will set one in place shortly.

There are 16 Scarpetta novels, and a franchise is the goal, but this film won't be tied to a specific Cornwell mystery title. The opera-loving coroner Scarpetta will be the lead in a suspense thriller in the vein of Silence Of The Lambs and Se7en.

Once Jolie sparked to the series, months of negotiations followed between ICM and Fox 2000's Elizabeth Gabler and Carla Hacken, because Cornwell was so protective of her literary property. The deal finally came together after Jolie and Kosinski met with the author and found common ground on the creative direction of the feature adaptation.

No production date has been set.