(JTA) — Israeli-born actress Natalie Portman has been hired to play Jewish twin sisters Pauline Esther Friedman and Esther Pauline Friedman, the authors of the famed Dear Abby and Ask Ann Landers advice columns, Variety reported.
Born in 1918, the sisters went on to become pop-culture icons, writing under the pseudonyms Ann Landers and Abigail Van Buren and competing professionally for the rest of their careers.
Portman also will direct the film, which is being produced by Oscar nominee Peter Saraf. She previously directed the 2015 film “A Tale of Love and Darkness,” based on Amos Oz’s novel about his childhood in prestate Israel.
Earlier this year, Portman made waves in Israel when she declined to go there to receive the 2018 Genesis Prize, the $1 million award known colloquially as the “Jewish Nobel.”
In an Instagram post, Portman issued a statement on Instagram saying that she did not want “to appear as endorsing Benjamin Netanyahu, who was to be giving a speech at the ceremony.” She also clarified that she does not support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel.