Rachel Weisz’ next role: A woman pretending to be a man

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Deadline reports that the Rachel Weisz will be playing James Barry, a woman who lived her life as a man to pursue a medical career with the army in 19th century England.

Born and raised a woman, Margaret Bulkley chose to live life disguised as a man to fulfill her dream of studying and practicing medicine.

The ruse began in 1809, 70 years before female students were permitted to attend medical school. In the hopes of becoming a surgeon, Margaret adopted the name James Barry and disguised herself as a man.

After finishing her studies, she decided to keep the name so as to pursue a military career, another world strictly reserved for men at the time. A model officer and an excellent surgeon, James Barry led an exemplary career that saw him travel to India, South Africa, Jamaica and Malta.

Noted for his progressive ideas, he implemented medical reforms and was a fervent defender of disadvantaged sections of society in the British colonies.

james barry

A portrait of James Barry. Photo: Wikipedia

It was only upon his death in 1865, after a career spanning more than 40 years, that James Barry’s true identity was discovered. As a result, James Barry became the first known qualified female British surgeon or doctor in history, as well as the first women to carry out a cesarean section in 1826, saving mother and child, at a time when neither antibiotics nor anesthesia was available.

This extraordinary tale is being brought to the big screen for the first time in a movie based on Rachel Holmes’ biography, The Secret Life Of Dr James Miranda Barry. Adaptation rights for the book have been acquired by the Maven Pictures production company.

Rachel Weisz has been seen recently in The Light Between Oceans, Youth and The Lobster. – AFP Relaxnews

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