Academy Award winning actress Octavia Spencer is attached to star in Seacole – a historical biopic about the legendary woman who defied discrimination to nurse soldiers in the Crimean War. With Charlie Stratton (In Secret) set to direct a script written by Dianne Houston (Take The Lead) and Marnie Dickens (Ripper Street), the project is being packaged for sale at the Berlin Film Festival.
Producer Brunson Green (The Help) reflected on the film, and the casting of Spencer, in conversation with The Hollywood Reporter.
“Mary Seacole was a dynamic, complex and charming woman, and knowing Octavia and her immense talent, there is no one better to embody this impressive and courageous historical figure.”
Having been born to a Jamaican woman and a Scottish officer from the British Army, Seacole grew up studying the healing techniques used by her mother in the boarding house she ran. Later in life, after the death of her husband and her mother, Seacole took over the running of her mother’s hotel, where she would treat the sick and injured, as necessary.
During the Crimean War, Seacole applied to be a nurse for the British Army, but was rejected. Not easily deterred, she went anyway and established a hotel for soldiers, where she would tend the injured. In 1857, she became a published author, when her memoir Wonderful Adventures of Mrs Seacole in Many Lands went into print.
After decades of having her achievements and contributions to society overshadowed by those of her contemporary, Florence Nightingale, Mary Seacole received posthumous recognition in the form of the Jamaican Order of Merit in 1991, and was also depicted on a British first class stamp. In 2004, she was voted ‘Greatest Black Briton,’ although in subsequent years, U.K citizens have had to fight to keep her story included in the National Curriculum that is taught in schools.
There is no indication yet as to when cameras might roll on this project, but now that Octavia Spencer is involved, we can expect the wider cast of Seacole to fill out quickly.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter