Natalie Portman is pulling triple-duty for her next project. She is directing and starring in the biopic about the writers behind the Dear Abby and Ask Ann Landers columns, identical twin sisters Pauline and Esther Friedman. And, she will be playing both women, reports Variety.
The film has yet to be given a release date, or name, but will revolve around the two sisters and their strained relationship at the height of their careers.
The Affair producer Katie Robbins will write the script. This isn’t Portman’s first time directing a feature film, helming 2015’s A Tale of Love and Darkness. She also directed her segment in 2008’s New York, I Love You. And, a short entitled Eve, also in 2008.
The Dear Abby column kicked off in 1956 by Pauline. A few months prior to Dear Abby launching, her sister, Esther, took over an already established advice column, called Ask Ann Landers, originated by Ruth Crowley.
Growing up very close — the twins dressing alike, having the same hobbies, going to the same parties and even later in life, marrying in a double wedding — competition sprouted.
In 1971, The New York Times chronicled how both women got their start, making note of the record-setting circulation achieved, each appearing in over 750 newspapers, with a readership of approximately of 54-million readers, at the time the NYT’s article ran.
Here is a clip of Pauline talking about her breakthrough moment with CNN’s Larry King, saying, “I gusted my way in.”
And, here is Esther on writing Ann Landers, chatting with host James Day, telling him, “Here is a chance to do some really good in the world.”
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