Mad men star Elisabeth Moss is preparing to shine a light on Florence Nightingale
Mad men star Elisabeth Moss is preparing to shine a light on Florence Nightingale, the Lady With The Lamp.
The actress, who won a Golden Globe trophy for her role as an enslaved baby-maker in The Handmaid’s Tale, told me that she is in the early stages of developing a film about the woman who was a heroine to the soldiers she cared for during the Crimean War.
‘I am fascinated by her,’ Moss told me at the rooftop party thrown by the Fox group of film and television companies — including Hulu, the pay service that broadcast The Handmaid’s Tale, based on Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel.
Moss said Nightingale’s life resonates ‘because nothing much has changed’ in terms of women having to overcome the objections of men in charge to get things done. Back then, the medical profession was officially closed to women.
Nightingale and 38 nurses sailed from England in 1854 for Army barracks in Constantinople (now Istanbul). She clashed with doctors who resented her presence as she highlighted the terrible conditions for sick and dying soldiers.
However, Queen Victoria later gave her an award for her services.
‘She believed in getting things done,’ noted Moss, whose enviable resumé includes Top Of The Lake, The West Wing and last year’s Cannes Palme d’Or winner, The Square, as well as Mad Men.
Moss (left) said Nightingale’s (right) life resonates ‘because nothing much has changed’ in terms of women having to overcome the objections of men in charge to get things done
The actress, won a Golden Globe trophy for her role as an enslaved baby-maker in The Handmaid’s Tale, pictured
Nightingale left a lasting legacy, thanks to her insistence on cleanliness to fight infections in hospitals, and her campaign for the training of nurses. She established the Nightingale Training School for Nurses in 1860 at St Thomas’ in London (now at King’s College).
Nightingale would surely be aghast to find that some nurses today have to make ends meet by using food banks.
Having read some of the letters she used to fire off to government offices, if she were still around I reckon she’d make the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State answer for that.
The film is expected to be directed by Jeremy Lovering, who directed five episodes of TV drama Doctor Foster.
Watch out for…
John McCrea, London’s hottest young star, who leads a company that includes Josie Walker, Tamsin Carroll and Lucie Shorthouse in the musical everyone’s talking about — Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.
The show, with music by Dan Gillespie Sells, book and lyrics by Tom MacRae and direction by Jonathan Butterell, will extend its run at the Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, until October 6.
The new block of tickets — with dates from April — will go on sale on Monday. The musical, about a Sheffield schoolboy (McCrea) whose heart’s desire is to wear a dress to his school prom, has become an unlikely smash success.
Producer Nica Burns decided to extend because she felt the show, which started life at the Sheffield Crucible last February, deserved to be shared with as many people as possible.
‘But there is no Sheridan Smith, no Michael Ball, no Amber Riley. No box-office star or Broadway accolades to sell tickets in advance. So, it’s a huge risk,’ she told me.
That may be, but it’s a major brand new British musical that is already generating interest where I am right now: on Broadway.