The Handmaid’s Tale star Elisabeth Moss has lined up a new film project, once again exploring a world seemingly designed to disenfranchise and dehumanize women (i.e., this one). According to The Hollywood Reporter, Moss has signed on to star in the upcoming biopic A Letter From Rosemary Kennedy, where she’d play the older sister of John F. Kennedy, who was lobotomized on her father’s orders when she was 23 years old.
Born with an intellectual disability, Rosemary Kennedy was frequently kept out of the public eye, as parents Joseph P. Kennedy and Rose Kennedy reportedly sought to minimize both her own discomfort, and her impact on the family’s reputation. As she aged into adulthood, though, her behavior became harder to control, and so, in 1941, her father asked Drs. Walter Freeman and James Watts—two of the major American proponents of the then-new surgical “cure,” which had only been performed on 80 or so people in the U.S. (mostly women)—to perform a lobotomy on her. The procedure was deemed a failure, for whatever that means when you’re cutting into someone’s brain in order to forcibly change their personality; Rosemary lost the ability to walk or speak, and was placed in private and constant care for the rest of her life, while her family did everything it could to curtail conversations about her from breaking out in public.
The new film is being directed by Ritesh Barna, whose 2017 efforts included Robert Redford’s Our Souls At Night and the literary adaptation The Sense Of An Ending. The Black List script was penned by Nick Yarborough.