HBO are currently courting Anna Paquin for Madame X, a miniseries she and her True Blood co-star Stephen Moyer are developing through their production company, CASM. Based on Kate Manning’s book My Notorious Life, the show is set in Victorian-era New York City and follows the life of Axie Muldoon, a wealthy New Yorker who helps her husband create a successful midwife business.
Per Deadline, the series purports to be “a love story, a family saga, and the confessions of a charismatic and passionate woman who changed the lives of countless others.” That premise, along with the true story tag, is a compelling prospect for the HBO treatment – especially in light of the superb Olive Kitteridge series.
As it stands, Paquin will star and executive produce alongside Moyer via CASM, with Jack Black producing through his Electric Dynamite banner. Your Sister’s Sister and Laggies helmer Lynn Shelton is attached to direct with The Keeping Room‘s Julia Hart on board to tackle the script.
For now, HBO are aiming to strike a deal to broadcast Madame X, which looks poised to be another captivating property for the cable giants. We’ll keep you posted with any further developments on the project as they roll in. Until then check out the synopsis for Manning’s book below.
Inspired by a real midwife who became one of the most controversial figures in Victorian New York City, this “daring page-turner” (O, The Oprah Magazine) is an unforgettable tale—a love story, a family saga, and the confessions of a charismatic and passionate woman who changed the lives of countless others.
Meet the incomparable Axie Muldoon. Axie’s story begins on the streets of 1860s New York. The impoverished child of Irish immigrants, she grows up to become one of the wealthiest and most controversial women of her day. In vivid prose, Axie recounts how she is forcibly separated from her mother and siblings, apprenticed to a doctor, and how she and her husband parlay the sale of a few bottles of “Lunar Tablets for Female Complaint” into a thriving midwifery business. Flouting convention and defying the law in the name of women’s rights, Axie rises from grim tenement rooms to the splendor of a mansion on Fifth Avenue, amassing wealth while learning over and over never to trust a man who says “trust me.”
When her services attract outraged headlines, Axie finds herself on a collision course with a crusading official—Anthony Comstock, founder of the Society for the Suppression of Vice. It will take all of Axie’s power to outwit him in the fight to preserve her freedom and everything she holds dear. Inspired by the true history of an infamous physician who was once called “the Wickedest Woman in New York,” Kate Manning is “writing in the venerable tradition of Stephen Crane…those social reformers knew that a powerful tale with memorable characters could draw us into the heat of social debates like nothing else” (The Washington Post).