The Guardian reports
that Natasha McElhone is slated to play Dr. James Barry in an upcoming film to be titled Heaven and Earth
. Barry was the nineteenth-century British woman who disguised herself as a man in order to become a doctor. (See my post from earlier this year
The film is apparently focusing on the rumored romance between Barry and Lord Somerset:
James Purefoy, recently seen as Mark Antony in the TV series Rome, will play Lord Somerset, a diplomat who sacrifices his career to safeguard Barry's secret. The story opens in 1825 in the South African Cape, where Somerset is governor of the garrison colony facing a rebellion. The skill of the new surgeon, known as James Miranda Barry, soon attracts his attention, but the attraction between the two must be suppressed in an era when any hint of homosexual activity would have led to execution. Once Somerset discovers Barry's true identity, they embark on a dangerous affair. Barry's hidden gender remains protected, while the governor is eventually disgraced. The film, which also stars actors Sean Pertwee and Mark Strong, goes on to chart the dramatic resolution of this love story.