Emmy-nominated/winning actresses Elle Fanning (“The Great”) and Sarah Paulson (“Ratched”) have joined the cast of “I Am Sybil.” The new film is co-written and directed by Mirrah Foulkes (“Judy & Punch”). The project is based on the real-life case of Sybil, one of the first mainstream diagnoses of dissociative identity disorder (DID).*
The name Sybil is a pseudonym given to patient Shirley Mason in the 1973 non-fiction novel “Sybil,” by Flora Rheta Schreiber. The book examines at the treatment Mason received for her DID by psychologist Connie Wilbur. While Fanning and Paulson’s exact roles in “I Am Sybil” have yet to be confirmed. It’s currently believed that Fanning will play Mason, with Paulson as Wilbur.
The case and book have already inspired a 4-time Emmy-winning mini-series in 1976 starring Sally Field and Joanne Woodward. And a 2007 television film starring Tammy Blanchard and Jessica Lang. Both were titled after Mason’s pseudonym.
But the source material for “I Am Sybil” will be based on journalist Debbie Nathan’s 2011 book “Sybil Exposed: The Extraordinary Story Behind the Famous Multiple Personality Case.” This is just one of many sources that dispute the account given in Schreiber’s 70s novel. Nathan’s in particular draws from the mountain of papers, records, photos, and tapes to show Schreiber’s novel was largely fabricated/exaggerated.
Director Mirrah Foulkes co-wrote the script with Jen Silverman (“The Miranda Obsession” podcast series). “I Am Sybil” will be produced by Jennifer Todd for Jennifer Todd Pictures, Annapurna and Ellen Goldsmith-Vein, and Lindsay Williams for The Gotham Group.
This early into production there is no release date set just yet. We’ll keep you posted about updates on “I Am Sybil” as they become available.
*Writer’s note: while it was called multiple personality disorder at the time, this term is considered to be outdated. DID is the widely accepted term now that doctors have a better understanding of the disorder.
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