Susan Swan’s novel The Biggest Modern Woman of the World is being adapted for television by Orphan Black producer Temple Street Productions.
The Canadian producer has optioned the 1983 book and Canadian playwright Hannah Moscovitch, who has written on TV dramas including X Company and Played, is adapting.
The book tells the true story of a seven-foot-six giantess who exhibited with P.T. Barnum. It follows Anna Swan, who died in 1888, from childhood as one of 13 children of poor Scottish immigrants in Nova Scotia through a life of showbusiness that took her to New York and across Europe. Barnum billed her as The Biggest Modern Woman of the World in his entertainment palace on Broadway.
David Fortier and Ivan Schneeberg, Co-Chairmen of Temple Street owner Boat Rocker, will exec produce with Killjoys and Saving Hope’s Trish Williams and Moscovitch. Boat Rocker controls the international rights.
Swan said the novel was “very close to her heart” and it was the “ideal dream” to bring the true story to television.
Moscovitch said: “I am beyond thrilled to be working with the award-winning team at Temple Street, to bring Susan Swan’s novel about the extraordinary Anna to our screens. Part truth, part legend, The Biggest Modern Woman of the World is a saucy romp through traditional categories of gender, sexuality and nationality and working on it is going to be a huge pleasure.”
Kerry Appleyard, SVP, Temple Street, added, “Susan Swan’s wonderful novel examines Western culture’s obsession with size and abnormality as Anna’s astonishing life unfolds. Ultimately it is an unlikely story of triumph over adversity which will resonate deeply with audiences worldwide. We’re delighted that we have one of the strongest voices in Canada, the multiple award-winning Hannah Moscovitch, to adapt the series.”