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Jessica Lange reviving Sybil for CBS

by Anna Johns, posted Jan 18th 2006 2:01PM
Jessica Lange and Tammy Blanchard, who is currently filming The Good Shepherd in Haiti with Matt Damon and Angelina Jolie, will star in the CBS remake of the 1976 NBC made-for-television movie, Sybil. Blanchard will play the title role, of a woman with multiple personality disorder. Lange will play her psychiatrist, who helps Sybil realize that years mental, physical and sexual abuse from her mother caused her emotional problems. Kinda sounds like an episode of Law and Order, doesn't it? I'm sure, in its day, the story was ground-breaking. I never saw the 1976 version, and I know I'm missing out on a lot of pop culture references because of it. The movie is based on the book of the same name which chronicled the real-life treatment of a woman from 1954-1965, who had 16 different personalities. The original version of the movie starred Joanne Woodward and Sally Field, who won an Emmy for the role. The screenwriter, Stewart Stern, also won an Emmy that year.

Filming of the remake begins next week in Nova Scotia. No air date is set.

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Trust me, you're missing out on a lot more than pop culture references. You're missing out on one of the best movies ever made and two of the finest performances ever given. It's a classic.

April 09 2006 at 1:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

IN IT'S DAY, the story was ground-breaking? ? I'll say you haven't seen this on cable. What makes it ground-breaking isn't the subject matter -- mental disorders had been the theme of dramas before. Trust me it's no L&O (hee)! It's the quality of performances and rawness of the production that was rare for television. In fact today you have to go to HBO (and occassionally FX), to see anything that approaches it. Presently network TV is kind of backwards, far too generic -- actors, writing and even some of the hilarious special effects are numbing rather than affecting. "Sybil" is movie-quality, except most actors would be lucky to drum out relaxed, fine tuned performances like that. The only broadcast movie that came close was "Lonesome Dove".

It is disturbibg though and Tom Fontana (Oz) said he didn't believe anything this intense could air today. We'll see.

April 09 2006 at 1:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Nancy Preston

Sybil/Shirley Mason was a long time friend of mine and if you are interested in more about her check out my web site www.sybilsfriend.com

March 29 2006 at 11:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

If you want to see the original, it's going to be on WE Sunday the 22nd.

January 19 2006 at 3:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Marion Paige

One of my theories on THE LOST END GAME is that it could be a reference to the ending of Sybil. I find the news about a remake of Sybil interesting because of a possible Lost connection.

As you state, Sybil is about a woman with multiple personalities. The tv series essentially showed the TRAUMAS that resulted in the creation of each of Sybil's personalities. Some of Sybil's personalities are male, some female, some of the personalities are younger than Sybil and some older than Sybil.

It is possible that what we are seeing with LOST's back stories could be the traumas that resulted in the creation of various splits in Jack's personality (Matthew Fox's character). In other words, it is possible that all of the "people" on Lost are manifestations of splits in Jack's personalities.

What really makes this theory very interesting is that Sybil's various personalities were re-integrated back into her personality at the end of Sybil. When the "re-integration of personalities" was done, the personalities were shown as "actual people", people who engaged in conversation and interacted with Sybil as if they were real individuals.

It would be so spectacular if Lost's Endgame was like the ending of Sybil, with Jack re-integrating all of the "people" on Lost back into his personality. Frankly, I think Locke is clearly a manifestation of one of a split in Jack's personality. I think with tonight's Lost, we should get a better idea if Locke is a real person or just representation of one of Jack's traumas. I think that Locke's girlfriend backstory was really about Jack's relationship with his girlfriend/wife.

This said, I can't imagine what remaking Sybil could accomplish. The original can't possibly be bested.

January 18 2006 at 7:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Annie W.

Oh man... I saw the '76 version when I was, like, 12 and it freaked me out. Previously, I had only known Sally Field from 'Mrs. Doubtfire' so... yeah. I was a little more than shocked, let's just say.

January 18 2006 at 4:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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