Rachel Weisz has added The Secret Life Of Dr. James Miranda Barry to her slate, as Maven Pictures option the source material – The Secret Life Of Dr James Miranda Barry: Victorian England’s Most Eminent Surgeon – for adaptation. The Academy Award winning actress will also co-produce the film, which delves into the true story of a woman determined to live her life on her own terms, in the Victorian era.
The book upon which the film is based was written by Rachel Holmes, and details the life of Margaret Ann Bulkley, who chose to live as a man in order to study, train, and build a career in medicine. Having assumed the identity of James Miranda Barry, the young doctor graduated from the University of Edinburgh Medical School in 1812 and became a military surgeon in the British Army – eventually rising to the rank of Inspector General in charge of military hospitals.
In this role, Barry became known for improving conditions and care for soldiers and their families, and also for prisoners and lepers. In addition, Barry is noted as having performed one of the first successful caesarean sections ever recorded. The fact that the true identity and gender of Dr. Barry remained a secret until after his death surely ranks among the most remarkable achievements in an altogether stellar career, too.
The source material is being adapted by screenwriter Nick Yarborough, who also has Letters From Rosemary in the works with Maven Pictures. A director has yet to be announced for The Secret Life Of Dr. James Miranda Barry, but given that this is a story about a woman living as a man in order to succeed in a male dominated workplace, it’d definitely be a good opportunity to hire a woman to take the helm.