Posted on Thursday, August 12th, 2021 by Joshua Meyer
Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson likes being in the Emily Blunt business. The two actors co-star in Jungle Cruise, now in theaters and on Disney+ Premier Access, and they’re lining up a new project with Johnson producing and Blunt starring as Kate Warne, the first woman investigator in the Pinkerton Detective Agency.
Deadline reports that Amazon Studios has acquired the Blunt-led project about Kate Warne in a “highly competitive auction.” Blunt’s Ledbury Productions will produce alongside Johnson’s Seven Bucks Productions and Kristina Sorensen Productions. Gustin Nash is writing the script. Here’s the logline:
The movie is a propulsive action adventure built around Warne, a real life female Sherlock Holmes in a male dominated industry whose singular sleuthing skills paved the way for future women in law enforcement and forever changed how detective work was done.
As Wikipedia notes, Warne was the woman responsible for uncovering the plot to assassinate then-president-elect Abraham Lincoln in 1861. The AV Club observes that “We Never Sleep,” Pinkerton’s company motto, “supposedly stems from a restless night she spent watching over president-elect Lincoln during a train journey to Washington D.C.”
The Name “Pinkerton” Makes Some Folks See Red
If one digs further into the real-life history surrounding the Pinkerton Detective Agency, it soon becomes apparent that not all of it is so rosy. You may have heard the name “Pinkerton” bandied about in period pieces before; at one time, it was the world’s biggest private law enforcement group. Of course, “private law enforcement” could be an oxymoron in some cases. Via The AV Club:
“There’s no clear historical evidence that [Warne] participated in any of the labor violence, strikebreaking, or general violent oppression by the wealthy of the poor that were the Pinkerton’s stock in trade for many decades, and which have rendered the company’s name a go-to watchword for villainy for anyone with even a smidge of labor sympathies in the modern era. (Also, anyone who’s watched Deadwood.)”
I’m a fan of Blunt, particularly her work in Sicario, and if anyone could give life to a gender-flipped Sherlock Holmes type, it would be her. That said, I had no idea that Pinkerton’s name was associated with such villainy and I now feel sufficiently guilt-tripped for being ignorant on the matter.
The average Amazon Prime viewer probably won’t be so knowledgeable about Pinkerton, either, but in today’s day and age, it’s very easy to put a streaming movie on pause, open another tab in your browser window, and start reading up on the history of something you’re watching.
Whenever this detective movie with Blunt hits Amazon, we can probably expect a flood of think pieces examining the legacy of Warne and Pinkerton and how they’re being represented onscreen.
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