Amazon Studios won a multi-studio bidding battle for the pic, on which Johnson also will serve as an executive producer under her Silhouette Productions with Brett Ratner and John Cheng of RatPac Entertainment producing. The spec script, based on Adam Cohen’s book Imbeciles: The Supreme Court, American Eugenics, and the Sterilization of Carrie Buck, was written by former litigation lawyer Melissa London Hilfers.
The logline: In the not-so-distant past, America was gripped by a political movement that promised to eliminate the “unfit” from our country. Unfit is the true story of Carrie Buck, a young Virginia woman who became a lightning rod for that movement, whose 1927 Supreme Court case Buck v. Bell legalized the sterilization of “undesirable” citizens. Buck was forced to fight against it singlehandedly for the one thing she desperately wanted: to be a mother.
“Like many, I was not privy to this shocking and fascinating moment in American history,” Johnson said. “I quickly became obsessed with the prospect of shedding light on the massive misstep in American justice. Carrie Buck’s story is poignant and galvanizing, and certain aspects are unnervingly congruent with the relationship between the government and women today. It is an important story that alongside RatPac and Amazon, I am honored and eager to tell.”
Said Ratner: “Dakota had told me about the book Imbeciles at a lunch last year, and when John Cheng and I read the spec script, we sent it to her immediately. I couldn’t be more thrilled be involved in this project with Dakota and Amazon, because I know Amazon’s passion and enthusiasm for telling this story is just as strong as Dakota’s. Although this story took place almost a hundred years ago, the subject matter is unbelievably timely.”