Somebody is finally making a movie about Victoria Woodhull, after decades of her just sitting there in the history books, an obvious candidate for the biopic treatment. According to Deadline, Brie Larson will star and produce.
The production can tap a rich vein of material. Before she ever announced her candidacy, Woodhull was a fascinating character; “She was a spiritualist and fortune-teller who later owned her own stock brokerage and newspaper and was a staunch advocate for women’s rights,” reports the Smithsonian. Married three times, she lived as a divorced single mother—in the nineteenth century. And her involvement in politics drew heavy condemnation:
At the time, Woodhull was reviled in the national press for what were considered to be radical beliefs by many Americans. In particular, she was singled out for her vocal support for free love, which at that point meant believing that women should have the freedom to choose who they wanted to marry and have the right to divorce their husbands, Jennifer Smola reports for the Columbus Dispatch. For this, she was ridiculed in newspapers across the country, notably by newspaper cartoonist Thomas Nast, who literally depicted her as the devil in Harper’s Weekly.
She was evicted, her daughter had to be pulled out of school, and she spent Election Day in jail after publishing accusations of extra-marital doings by Reverend Henry Ward Beecher. Don’t worry, she came out on top in the end. Politico writes:
Having divorced Colonel Blood in 1876, ceased publication of her newspaper that same year, and become, mostly due to harsh criticism over her expose of Henry Ward Beecher, a target of hate and ridicule in the United States, she retreated, in 1877, to London. There she married for a third time to John Biddulph Martin, an Oxford-educated son of a wealthy and proper English banking family. Martin’s mother vehemently opposed the marriage. The newlyweds lived on a London estate. After Martin died in 1901, Victoria, who was one of the first women in England to own a car, lived the life of a wealthy widow in a manor house on a 1,200-acre estate in the Cotswolds, outside Bredon’s Norton.
Really it’s just too bad nobody ever saw fit to cast Kathy Bates in this role. Kathy Bates would kill as Victoria Woodhull.