EXCLUSIVE: Peter Fonda is set for a starring role in The Most Hated Woman in America, the true story of Madalyn O’Hair, an atheist who got the Supreme Court to overturn prayer in public schools. Netflix is financing the motion picture with Melissa Leo starring and Tommy O’Haver directing from his own script (which he co-wrote with Irene Turner). The project is slated to go before the cameras on Monday.
Fonda will play Reverend Harrington, a con-artist preacher who partners with O’Hair to do a tour of revival meetings to prey on the God-fearing aspect of his followers. Leo will portray O’Hair, the outspoken and overbearing founder of American Atheists, whose eloquent, impassioned speeches in favor of separation of church and state were much at odds with her unethical business practices (the Internal Revenue Service had long-suspected that she moved the organization’s money into overseas bank accounts to avoid taxes). O’Hair later was kidnapped and murdered at the hand of what was believed to be two ex-cons.
Elizabeth Banks, Max Handelman, and Laura Rister are producing.
Fonda recent credits include Lena Dunham’s new single camera comedy for HBO, Max. The actor is repped by Untitled Entertainment, Pure Arts Management and Integrated PR.