One of the very real, very obvious consequences of a film industry that marginalizes women filmmakers is that the majority of stories we see onscreen are those of men. Scientists, artists, politicians, world leaders, inventors and outstanding heroes – film after film celebrating testosterone-based contributions to the world. That’s not to say that biopics of women don’t exist, of course – we have plenty about Cleopatra, Queen Victoria, and Queen Elizabeth, for example, and we also now have Suffragette. Occasionally, there’s a Monster, or even a The Positively True Adventures Of The Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom – but rarely do we see stories celebrating real women achieving real, positive things in the modern world. This is why a film like Megan Leavey is so important, and why it is exciting to have multiple award-winner Edie Falco join the cast.
Megan Leavey is a woman’s story, told by women. As the first narrative feature film from acclaimed Blackfish filmmaker Gabriela Cowperthwaite, the project boasts a script by Pamela Gray (Conviction), and centres on the titular decorated war veteran, to be played by Kate Mara (The Martian). Megan Leavey enlisted in the K9 unit as a young Marine, and soon bonded with a somewhat unruly combat dog named Rex. Together, they became a highly respected, elite bomb detection team – saving countless lives and completing more than 100 missions during two tours of Iraq.
When the pair were wounded in action in 2006, they both managed to recover. However, while Leavey was discharged and awarded the Purple Heart, Rex was returned to service, where he continued saving lives for a further five years. Leavey always intended to adopt Rex once he was retired from his role, however, she discovered that her canine colleague was listed for euthanasia, and began a fierce fight to save him.
Edie Falco has joined the cast of Megan Leavey in the role of Jackie, Leavey’s mother. With the production scheduled to head before the cameras this month, we should hear more casting announcements soon – and if they are anything close to the calibre of the two women already on board, this biopic will definitely be something to watch out for.