Menagerie’s Lange and Gypsy’s Blanchard to Star in “Sybil” Remake

News   Menagerie’s Lange and Gypsy’s Blanchard to Star in “Sybil” Remake Academy Award winner Jessica Lange, most recently on Broadway in The Glass Menagerie, and Emmy Award winner Tammy Blanchard, seen in the revival of Gypsy, will co-star in a remake of “Sybil.”
Jessica Lange
Jessica Lange Photo by Aubrey Reuben

The Hollywood Reporter says that CBS has greenlighted a new movie based on the best-selling book by Flora Rheta Schreiber that chronicled the treatment of a woman with multiple personality disorder. John Pielmeier has adapted the book for the upcoming television movie; Joseph Sargent will direct.

“Sybil,” according to the industry paper, concerns “Sybil (Blanchard), who, after a suicide attempt, is introduced to psychiatrist Dr. Corneila Wilbur (Lange). During their sessions, Sybil, who confides that she frequently loses her memory and can't account for large blocks of time, slowly remembers the physical, emotional and sexual abuse to which she was subjected as a child by her mentally disturbed mother. During 11 years of treatments, 16 distinct personalities — which Sybil had created to cope with the abuse — emerge, each varying in age and appearance.”

A 1976 television movie, also based on Sybil’s story, starred Joanne Woodward and a young Sally Field. That version garnered four Emmy Awards, including one for actress Field.

Jessica Lange was most recently on Broadway in the revival of Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie. Her only other Broadway credit is the 1992 revival of A Streetcar Named Desire, in which she played Blanche Du Bois opposite the Stanley Kowalski of Alec Baldwin. The actress won Academy Awards for her roles in "Blue Sky" and "Tootsie" and she was also Oscar-nominated for her work in "Music Box," "Sweet Dreams," "Country" and "Frances."

Tammy Blanchard, who was Tony-nominated for her performance in the title role of the recent Gypsy revival, won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries/Movie for her work as Judy Garland in "Life With Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows." She also garnered Golden Globe, AFI TV and Golden Satellite award nominations for that performance. A New Jersey native, Blanchard's other credits include "Stealing Harvard," "We Were the Mulvaneys" and three years on the CBS daytime serial "Guiding Light." In addition to her Tony nomination for her role as Louise in Gypsy, Blanchard also won a Theatre World Award for her work in the classic musical.