Jessica Chastain’s Freckle Films Has Optioned Jessamine Chan’s The School for Good Mothers

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Jessamine Chan’s debut novel The School for Good Mothers is just out today and has already been racking up praise. Carmen Maria Machado called it “a terrifying novel about mass surveillance, loneliness, and the impossible measurements of motherhood,” and Vogue said it “picks up the mantle of writers like Margaret Atwood and Kazuo Ishiguro, with their skin-crawling themes of surveillance, control, and technology; but it also stands on its own as a remarkable, propulsive novel.”

And now, it’s already on the way to a screen near you. Deadline reports that Jessica Chastain’s production company, Freckle Films, has picked up the TV rights to Chan’s novel, and will work with director Jude Weng (Finding Ohana) and Endeavor Content to transform the book into a series.

The novel follows Frida Liu, who struggles with her parents’ expectations and her husband’s infidelity but adores her daughter, Harriet. But love isn’t enough under the watchful eye of the state.

“The state has its eyes on mothers like Frida,” the book’s summary explains. “The ones who check their phones, letting their children get injured on the playground; who let their children walk home alone. Because of one moment of poor judgment, a host of government officials will now determine if Frida is a candidate for a Big Brother-like institution that measures the success or failure of a mother’s devotion.”

Director Jude Weng has a ton of TV experience, including episodes of Fresh Off the Boat and The Good Place. Deadline reports that she and Chan will executive produce The School for Good Mothers with Chastain and Freckle Films’ Kelly Carmichael. There’s no word on who will write the adaptation, and no network is involved yet. But anything with this many Margaret Atwood comparisons—”In the way that The Handmaid’s Tale made us fear for women’s bodies, The School for Good Mothers makes us fear for women’s souls,” said author Diane Cook—is likely to find a home before long.

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