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Elisabeth Moss to produce & star in Typhoid Mary period drama Fever

05.23.2017

MAD MEN alum and THE HANDMAIDEN'S TALE star Elisabeth Moss is joining forces with BBC America and Annappurna Television to develop a limited series adaptation of FEVER, a period drama based on Mary Beth Keane's novel of the same name. Moss, who is already set to star in the project, also holds the rights to the novel and will act as the program's executive producer. 

Now, before you get your hopes up, no, FEVER is not an adaptation based on the Typhoid Mary Marvel villain that Matt Murdock aka Daredevil inadvertently helped to create. I know, I would have liked to see a show about her as well. Anyway, back to our regularly scheduled news. FEVER will tell the story of the first known healthy carrier of typhoid fever who became known as “Typhoid Mary” as she spread typhoid across the burgeoning metropolis of early twentieth century New York.

It's been reported that Moss acquired the original rights to Keane's novel and had then sent the material to Phil Morrison, who boarded onto the project as its director and executive producer. Robin Veith (TRUE BLOOD) is currently on-board to pen the script and will also serve as an executive producer alongside Moss, Morrison, and Annapurna’s Sue Naegle and Megan Ellison. 

Moss, who appears to be extraordinarily excited about the adaptation's potential, recently expressed her enthusiasm when she said, “I’m so honored to be working with the incredible team of collaborators we have pulled together with Phil, Robin, BBC America and Annapurna. I look forward to telling this story about one of the most infamous women in America, ‘Typhoid Mary,’ a woman whose true tale has never been told. She was an immigrant in turn of the century New York, a time of huge change and progress in America. She was incredibly unique, stubborn, ambitious and in fierce denial of any wrongdoing until her death where she lived out her days imprisoned on an island just off of the Bronx in NY. She is incredibly complicated, something I seem to enjoy playing."

As part of your history lesson for today, "Typhoid Mary" Mallon was born on September 23, 1869, in Cookstown, a small village in the north of Ireland. Mallon’s hometown in County Tyrone was among one of Ireland’s poorest areas. Mallon was presumed to have infected 51 people, and three of those illnesses resulted in death. Since she used a number of aliases, it’s possible that the true death toll could have been higher. However, based on the confirmed fatalities, Typhoid Mary was not even the most lethal carrier of the typhoid germ in New York City’s history. In 1922, New Yorker Tony Labella reportedly caused two outbreaks that combined for more than 100 cases and five deaths.

Thanks, History.com, you're a real pal! With Michael Mayer's THE SEAGULL all wrapped up, Moss' next role will be in David Lowery's OLD MAN AND THE GUN, a crime drama which is scheduled for a 2018 release.

Extra Tidbit: Like many single women who emigrated from Ireland, "Typhoid Mary" Mallon found work in America as a domestic servant. Perhaps fitting given her birth in a hamlet named Cookstown, she proved adept in the kitchen and cooked for some of New York Cityís most elite families.

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