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Jenna Mirza Mattison Adapting Anita Moorjani’s Cancer Memoir ‘Dying To Be Me’ For Wonderstreet

Client: Jenna Mattison – Writer


Wonderstreet, the company behind such award-winning and socially impactful features as Beasts of No Nation and The Mauritanian, has enlisted Jenna Mirza Mattison to script a feature adaptation of Dying to Be Me, the international and New York Times bestselling memoir from Anita Moorjani.

Published by Hay House Inc. in September 2014, the memoir recounts how Moorjani was miraculously cured of terminal cancer, just days after a near-death experience. After fighting cancer for years, the author’s body began shutting down — overwhelmed by the malignant cells spreading throughout her system. As her organs failed, she entered into an extraordinary near-death experience where she realized the actual cause of her disease. Upon regaining consciousness, Moorjani found that her condition improved so rapidly that she was released from the hospital without a trace of cancer in her body.

Within the pages of the memoir, the author also recounts stories of her childhood, finding true love after rejecting an arranged marriage, as well as how she eventually ended up in that hospital bed where she defied all medical knowledge. As part of a traditional Hindu family from India, residing in a largely Chinese and British society in Hong Kong, Moorjani had been pushed and pulled by cultural and religious customs since she was a little girl. After years of struggling to forge her own path while trying to meet everyone else’s expectations, she had the realization, as a result of her epiphany on the other side, that she had the power to heal herself — and that there are miracles in the universe that she’d never even imagined.

The Dying to Be Me film has been in development with Mark and Christine Holder of Wonderstreet and producers Liat Gerszt, Colet Abedi, Jasmine Abedi and Brian Zagorski of Sylvirgale Productions and 04 Entertainment since 2020. Prior to that, we’re told, the project was in development with Ridley Scott.

Gerszt and Abedi, who is also a bestselling author, originally became enthralled by Moorjani’s story after reading her memoir in 2014. For around a decade, they searched for the right screenwriter, who could relate to the story on a cultural and spiritual level, before coming to connect with Mattison.

No stranger to bestselling authors, Mattison has previously adapted the novels of James Patterson and Sophie Kinsella and has an upcoming adaptation in the works based on a novella by Josh Malerman, the author of Bird Box. Her previous films have been released through MGM, Samuel Goldwyn, Sony and Lionsgate. In television, she’s currently in development as creator and EP of a series about a woman who has a near death experience and gets psychic abilities, with Emmy winner Leslie Greif (The Offer) producing and Edward Bernero (Criminal Minds) as showrunner.

Currently traveling the world as a motivation speaker, Moorjani is also the author of books including Deep Meditation for Healing, Love: A Story About Who You Truly Are, What If This Is Heaven?, and Sensitive Is The New Strong.

No stranger to incredible true stories, Wonderstreet has previously mined them with Netflix’s limited series Self Made: Inspired by the Life of Madam C. J. Walker, which brought star Octavia Spencer an Emmy nomination, as well as the acclaimed feature dramas Beasts of No Nation and The Mauritanian from directors Cary Jojo Fukunaga and Kevin Macdonald, respectively. Currently, the company is producing the second season of Spanish-language series Bandidos for Netflix.

Mattison is repped by Gersh, The Cartel, and Cohen & Gardner.

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