Australian independent producer Aquarius Films is setting up timely female-led drama film “Most Admired Woman,” about a nurse who took a life-saving treatment to America during the early 20th century polio epidemic, and defied her critics.
The film is an adaptation of biography “Sister Kenny: The Woman Who Challenged the Doctors,” written by science writer Victor Cohn. Rising writing talent Becca Johnstone (“Bayou”) has adapted the book into a screenplay. A director has not yet been attached.
The movie is now being set up as an Aquarius Films and Decade Films production, to be produced by Angie Fielder (“Lion”) and Polly Staniford (“Berlin Syndrome”) for Aquarius Films and Ray Quint (“Bastard Boys”) and Andrew Handelsmann (“Circle of Lies”) for Decade Films. “Most Admired Woman” is being developed with assistance from regional film body Screen NSW.
Said Aquarius about the film: “Scoffed at by the patriarchal medical fraternity, Elizabeth Kenny rails against her detractors, fights tooth and nail for her methods to be accepted, and ultimately saves the lives of thousands of children. It is a fight that takes her from ramshackle outback huts to Washington’s corridors of power. Along the way, Elizabeth’s obsessive commitment to her cause pushes her to the edge and threatens to compromise her relationships with those closest to her. Eventually recognized for her groundbreaking work, she is honored as the ‘World’s Most Admired Woman,’ beating Eleanor Roosevelt for the prestigious title.”
“Becca’s script is powerful, funny and incredibly moving. She is an enormously talented writer who has crafted a perfectly pitched triumph of the human spirit story with a complex and thoroughly entertaining female protagonist. We took this project on as we were interested in telling a story about a remarkable woman who is an unsung hero,” said Fielder and Staniford in a statement.
“As COVID is for this generation, polio was the most urgent health crisis of its era, so telling the story of the amazing work that Elizabeth Kenny did in the face of that terrifying disease feels particularly resonant now.”