Saturday, April 9, 2011

The elevator pitch

The time is right to reveal my dream. The time is right to make a feature-length biopic of Mary Wollstonecraft. 

Best remembered as the mother of Western feminism, her life was so much more colourful than her writing. In many ways she epitomised the Enlightenment by arguing for education for girls, careers for women, and rationalism for all. But her private life was one of passion and torment, and above all many-splendoured love. 

Educationally & emotionally starved as a child, her dowry gambled away by her father's drunken folly, Mary's future looked bleak.  (Think of those genteel impoverished spinsters in Jane Austen novels.)  As a young woman she had to support herself, but few options were open to her. Eventually a fairy godmother figure helped her to become mistress of her own school amidst the stimulating and supportive Dissenters of Newington Green, London, where free-thinking new friends who supported the American and French Revolutions changed the direction of her life. She picked up her quill as a writer, and never put it down.  When things hotted up in France, and everyone who could was leaving, Mary moved to Paris, a mere month before Louis XVI was guillotined, to record what she found.  Most notoriously, she found love, with an American adventurer by whom she bore a child, scandalously out of wedlock. 
Many of her life choices smack more of sensibility than of sense.  

Mary's story is full of episodes and escapades that would translate vividly to the screen.  Romance, sex, violence, death, all played their role in shaping her. She spent most of her life in London, with time in Paris, Lisbon, Yorkshire and Scandinavia.  Her views were formed within a social and intellectual milieu that included radicals and revolutionaries, abolitionists and politicians, Thomas Paine, John and Abigail Adams, Henry Fuseli (with whom she proposed a menage-a-trois), Tallyrand, and Erasmus Darwin, to name a few.  Eventually she found domestic bliss with William Godwin, although her first declarations of love were to two dear girl friends.

She was a woman of her time, but it easy to imagine the woman she would be now. One man infatuated with her wrote, "In you I discover the being for whom my soul has for years been languishing, woman of reason, playful & passionate child of love".  Wouldn't you love to see her brought to life?

This woman & her story will captivate a modern audience.
Mary: the Movie has something for everyone,
from girlhood innocence to the French Terror,
from righteous causes to taboo-breaking love.  

Her legacy, our slogan: Learn, earn, read, write; teach, travel, live, love!


  1. In the right hands, this would easily make good movie.

  2. Are you Mr JDD? Thank you for your vote of confidence! Who would count as the right hands, I wonder?

  3. Sounds like a film I'd like to see.

    What I think is interesting is a female lead who has several contradicting character traits, e.g. fees real.
    And also isn't just an extention of a man (e.g. wife/ daughter/ girlfriend/lover/ mother).

    Do you mean a bit like these, when it comes to atmosphere?:

    I could see Romola Garai as Mary.