Billie Jean King. Tonya Harding. Margaret Thatcher. The past few years have brought about plenty of biopics about strong and powerful women who changed the course of history, but there are still countless influential women who’ve yet to be portrayed on the silver screen. Here are just ten who would make for great biopics.
She’s one of Old Hollywood’s most notable faces, a prevailing style icon for women, and her quotations continue to inspire generations, even to this day. Though Audrey Hepburn didn’t tend to engage in the scandal—unlike some of her contemporaries, looking at you, Ingrid Bergman—she was a humanitarian in addition to her acting career. Imagine trying to cast an Audrey for the 21st century, along with Gregory Peck and Cary Grant. Now that would be an accomplishment.
Who should play her: Lily Collins
She’s one of Classic Rock’s most notable ladies, had a slew of famous romances (with her Fleetwood Mac cohorts and two of the Eagles), and she’s got a journal full of her experiences that any screenwriter could draw from.
Who should play her: Juno Temple
21 Academy Award nominations. 31 Golden Globe noms. She’s played some of the film’s most iconic roles, and yet, no one’s played her. Maybe it’s because she’s managed to stay out of the tabloids for the bulk of her career and, for the most part, scandals—Harvey Weinstein aside. Maybe it’s because Streep has some mighty big shoes to fill, and casting directors would be hard pressed to find someone of Streep’s caliber to portray her. But can you imagine what it’d be like to see the rise of such a legend, and maybe some behind-the-scenes portrayals of what it was like working on films such as The Deer Hunter, Sophie’s Choice, and The Devil Wears Prada?
Who should play her: Mamie Gummer
She’s one of the richest people in the world—with nearly $3 billion to her name—but Oprah didn’t get to the top five of the Forbes list easily. She endured a whole host of struggles growing up, including poverty and sexual abuse. Her story is as inspiring as those she featured on her show, and it’s still waiting to be shared.
Who should play her: Danielle Brooks
Janet Leigh/Jamie Lee Curtis
Two horror legends, one family. I for one would love to know what it was like for Jamie Lee Curtis to grow up in the shadow of Psycho’s Marion Crane, especially when she was coming into her own as cinema’s first true representation of a scream queen.
Who should play them: Elizabeth Debicki and Saoirse Ronan, respectively
She never made it to 30, but Janis Joplin’s legacy has continued to endure for nearly 50 years. It isn’t often we get a biopic about a female musician—it’s been 21 years since Selena, 11 since La Vie en Rose, and eight since The Runaways, which earned under $5 million at the box office. It’s time we get to see a feminine face of the classic rock scene, and who better than Janis herself to represent it?
Who should play her: Emma Stone
Lifetime movie aside, Rowling’s inordinate accomplishments as one of the world’s best-selling authors deserve a big screen adaptation—one that properly details her struggles in poverty, her process of developing Harry Potter, and her life after the books and films became institutions.
Who should play her: Blake Lively
The grandmother of the horror genre, Mary Shelley doesn’t often get her due—not least because the monster in her most famous work, Frankenstein, is often mistakenly described as Frankenstein, whereas that’s the name of the doctor who creates him. Not only was Shelley married to a famous poet—whose marriage she broke up—was friends with Lord Byron, and was revered as a writer, despite her gender and the time in which she lived.
Who should play her: Emily Browning
A Pulitzer, A Nobel Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and no biopic? One of America’s greatest literary treasures, Toni Morrison is a pioneer in her own right and is known to most English students. Yet her story is not.
Who should play her: Adrienne C. Moore
Daphne du Maurier
Not only was she the brains behind three of Alfred Hitchcock’s films—The Birds, Rebecca, and Jamaica Inn—but du Maurier lived as a recluse as she grew older, was accused of having plagiarised her most famous work, and is said to have had a selection of secret relationships.
Who should play her: Louise Brealey
Which fabulous lady do you think deserves a biopic? Don’t see her here? Pitch your idea in the comments below!