American actress Natalie Portman will direct and star in a biopic about twin sisters and professional rivals Pauline Esther Friedman and Esther Pauline Friedman, who wrote immensely popular advice columns from the 1950s to the early 2000s. Produced by Big Beach Films, the as-yet-untitled drama will be written by Katie Robbins (The Affair) and will feature Portman as the twins.
Born in 1918, the Friedman sisters wrote competing columns under the pen names Abigail Van Buren and Ann Landers. While Esther won a contest in 1955 to take over the “Ask Ann Landers” column in the Chicago Sun-Times, Pauline’s “Dear Abby” was launched in 1956 in the San Francisco Chronicle. The sisters are said to have had a fraught and acrimonious relationship.
Portman made her directorial debut in 2015 with the Israeli drama A Tale of Love and Darkness, which featured Amir Tessler, Gilad Kahana and Portman. She is set to appear in Brady Corby’s music drama Vox Lux, which will be premiered at the Venice Film Festival on September 4, and Xavier Dolan’s The Death and Life of John F. Donovan, which will be premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, which runs from September 6-16.