American actress and deaf activist Millicent Simmonds, known for her breakout roles in ‘Wonderstruck’ and the horror film ‘A Quiet Place’, will play Helen Keller and ‘Marvelous Mrs Maisel’ star Rachel Brosnahan will essay the part of her teacher Anne Sullivan in the forthcoming feature film ‘Helen & Teacher’.
The casting of Simmonds marks a significant turning point for deaf representation on screen, according to Variety.com. Most adaptations of Keller’s story over the years have generally featured actors who are not deaf. Brosnahan, meanwhile, will portray Keller’s committed yet controlling translator and companion.
Set in the early 1900s, the story follows Keller’s tumultuous time at Radcliffe College, Harvard University, when her rapidly expanding worldview and sexual awakening brings her into direct conflict with the conservative Sullivan.
When Sullivan is courted by the young and brilliant publisher, John Macy, tensions escalate between the two women that threaten the bonds of their friendship.
Keller’s story, narrated in her autobiography ‘The Story of My Life’, has been adapted in numerous stage productions (most famously William Gibson’s ‘The Miracle Worker’ in 1959) and films, including Disney’s 2000 TV movie ‘The Miracle Worker’, starring Hallie Kate Eisenberg, who is not deaf, and ‘The Miracle Worker’ (1962), which starred another non-deaf actor, Patty Duke, as Keller, according to Variety.com.