Natalie Portman is reportedly in talks to play twins in a biopic about the writers of the iconic Ann Landers and Dear Abby advice columns.
The Black Swan actress is circling a deal to play identical twin sisters, and professional rivals, Esther ‘Eppie’ Lederer and Pauline ‘Popo’ Phillips, reports Collider. An insider has also claimed that she wants to direct the movie.
Katie Robbins, a writer for TV show The Affair, has penned the script for the film, which is currently untitled, while Peter Saraf and Dani Melia of Big Beach are to produce. A possible release date has not been disclosed.
Born in Iowa in 1918, Eppie began writing the Ask Ann Landers column in 1955, while her sister launched the rival Dear Abby column under the pen name Abigail Van Buren the following year.
Over the course of their careers, the women became nationwide media celebrities, with Eppie named by a World Almanac survey in 1978 as the most influential woman in the United States, while her twin’s Dear Abby became the most widely syndicated newspaper column in the world, appearing in 1,400 newspapers with 110 million readers. Popo also hosted a daily Dear Abby programme on CBS Radio from 1963 until 1975.
But in spite of their individual success, Eppie and Popo had a difficult and competitive relationship. Though the duo publicly reconciled in 1964, the acrimony between them persisted, and a few years before Eppie’s death in 2002 at the age of 83 they were not on speaking terms. Popo passed away aged 94 in 2013.
Previously, Natalie directed and starred in 2015 drama A Tale of Love and Darkness. She most recently starred in sci-fi movie Annihilation and is now shooting Pale Blue Dot, Noah Hawley’s film about a female astronaut who, upon returning to Earth from a life-changing mission in space, begins to slowly unravel and lose touch with reality.