Rachel Weisz to play 'doctor in disguise' James Miranda Barry

Rachel Weisz has been cast as Dr. James Miranda Barry in a new biopic.

Rachel Weisz has been cast to portray Dr. James Miranda Barry, a woman who disguised herself as a man, in a new biopic.

The film will be based on Rachel Holmes' biography The Secret Life of Dr. James Miranda Barry: Victorian England's Most Eminent Surgeon, and will follow Dr. Barry's life, from when she was born as Margaret Bulkley to passing as a man in the 1800s in order to practice medicine in England, right up to her death in 1865.

The story has previously been told on the small screen in a BBC drama-documentary called A Skirt Through History, but this will be the first time the tale of the woman who did what she had to in order to fulfil her dream is being made into a feature film.

Barry became a prominent surgeon - performing one of the first known successful caesarean sections - and spent her career championing the rights of the lower classes, pushing for medical reforms and better sanitary conditions.

After becoming an army surgeon and starting work as a medical assistant in Cape Town, the doctor was promoted to the role of personal physician to Governor Lord Charles Somerset.

Somerset supported Barry’s work, and the pair enjoyed a relationship that was considered scandalous at the time. Barry’s true gender was not discovered until her death in 1865.

Rachel will serve as co-producer on the movie alongside Trudie Styler and Celine Rattray. The movie will be adapted for the big screen by screenwriter Nick Yarborough.

The Oscar-winning actress, who is married to James Bond star Daniel Craig, has been busy this year (16), with starring roles in The Light Between Oceans which opened last month (Nov16), and movie Denial which also stars British actor Timothy Spall.

The 46-year-old recently wrapped production on the Fox Searchlight film My Cousin Rachel opposite Sam Claflin, and also has James Marsh movie The Mercy opening next year (17).

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