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Natalie Portman To Play Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg In ‘On The Basis Of Sex’

Deadline logo Deadline 5/8/2015 Ali Jaafar
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EXCLUSIVENatalie Portman is set to play Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in On The Basis Of Sex with Marielle Heller (The Diary of a Teenage Girl) in negotiations to direct. Focus Features is also in talks to come on-board to finance.

The script, which follows the travails of Ginsburg as she faced numerous obstacles to her fight for equal rights throughout her career, was on the 2014 Black List and written by Daniel Stiepleman. Robert W. Cort is producing with Ron Bergman exec producing.

Ginsberg was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1993 by then-President Bill Clinton, in doing so becoming only the second female justice (after Sandra Day O’Connor) and the first Jewish female justice. Prior to that she developed a reputation as a keen advocate for the advancement of women’s rights. Time Magazine this year labelled her an “Icon” in their Time 100.

The classy project is coming together quickly with a hoped for start of production by the end of the year. That would put it ahead of Alex Garland’s Annihilation sci-fi project.

This is fast becoming a banner year for the multi-talented Portman, who has earned her own reputation for good taste and being meticulous and deliberate in her choice of projects. Her directorial debut A Tale of Love and Darkness, which she also adapted from Israeli author Amos Oz’s classic memoir, receives its world premiere next week in Official Selection at Cannes. That follows on from her well-received performance in Terence Malick’s Knight of Cups, which world preemed at Berlin in February.

Also in the pipelines is Weightless, another Malick collaboration, as well as Jane Got a Gun and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, both of which Portman produced as well as acted in.

2015 is also proving a breakout year for Marielle Heller.

Her directorial debut The Diary of a Teenage Girl earned critical raves at Sundance, where Sony Pictures Classics picked up North American and select international rights. The film, which Heller also wrote, stars Kristin Wiig and Bel Powley. It follows a 15-year-old aspiring comic book artist who comes of age in 1970s San Francisco and is insatiably curious about the world around her.

Heller is repped by UTA and attorney PJ Shapiro. Portman is repped by CAA. Stiepleman is repped by The Gersh Agency and Anonymous Content. 

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