Aquarius acquires Clementine Ford’s ‘Fight Like a Girl’ for TV series

The provocative feminist memoir is being turned into a six-part comedy drama with Clementine Ford, Lou Sanz, Nayuka Gorrie and Nina Oyama as creators.

Angie Fielder and Polly Staniford’s independent production company, Aquarius Films, has announced it will produce the comedy drama TV series Fight Like a Girl based on the book by ‘fearless feminist writer and online sensation Clementine Ford.’

Aquarius Films have acquired all development and production rights to the best-selling memoir, which is described as: ‘an essential manifesto for feminists new, old and soon-to-be, which exposes just how unequal the world continues to be for women.’

Producers Fielder and Staniford’s most recent production seen on our screens is the fun feminist heist drama with a Filipino-Australian focus, The Unusual Suspects on SBS. We spoke to them recently about their philosophy and advice as producers.

Read: ‘Team Up for Producing Success’: Angie Fielder & Polly Staniford

Fight Like a Girl will add to their slate of female-led stories, which also includes feature film Most Admired Woman (based on the acclaimed biography Sister Kenny: The Woman Who Challenged the Doctors co-produced with Decade Films), and a co-production with Rose Byrne’s Dollhouse Pictures for TV series The Geography of Friendship based on Sally Piper’s best-selling novel.

In the media release Staniford and Fielder said: ‘We were incredibly inspired by Clem’s book Fight Like A Girl and moved by her authentic and powerful voice. Clem is an influencer and a social disrupter who openly speaks of taboo subjects in order to spark conversation and incite change. She is not afraid of controversy and through her writing is able to delve into important issues with satire and grace. We are very excited to partner with her on this compelling new project.’

The book by the controversial and fearless author, activist, public speaker and social media influencer was published in 2016 in Australia by Allen & Unwin, and in the US and the UK by Oneworld Publications. It generated so much buzz that even before its release it became a best-seller via pre-sales. The first edition sold over 65,000 copies in Australia and Ford received The Matt Richell Award for New Writer of the Year by the prestigious Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIA).

The 6 x 30 minutes TV series will be created by Ford  and Lou Sanz (writer of the upcoming feature film, Audrey and upcoming ABC series The PM’s Daughter) and written by Ford, Sanz, Nayuka Gorrie (Black Comedy) and Nina Oyama (Squinters)

Read: TV Review: The Unusual Suspects is authentic and refreshing

Ford is best known for writing about rape culture, slut shaming, misogyny and the patriarchy for mainstream media outlets. In the release she said that, ‘As an insecure teen growing up in the 90s, television was such an escape for me. To be able to develop a narrative fiction version of this time for today’s viewers is an absolute dream come true. Fight Like A Girl resonated with so many readers because, despite our differences, there are parts of being a girl in the world that are universal. We want to offer the same experience now to a broader audience, reminding everyone how far we’ve come – and how far we still have to go.’

On her Instagram, Ford said she had been dying to share this news:

‘A little over a year ago, the brilliant @lousanzfilm and I had a meeting with the wonderful @AngieFielder and @Polly_Staniford at @aquarius.films to talk about a narrative fiction TV series based on “Fight Like A Girl”. Many meetings, brainstorming sessions and online zooms followed, and today we finally get to announce it 😭😭The plan is to create a six part TV dramedy series set in the 90s, exploring the world of a teenage girl and her awakening to feminism and patriarchy. It’s inspired by the content of my book, but the characters will be new. And I am beyond thrilled to announce that the very brilliant Nayuka Gorrie (@_naycab) and @Nina.Oyama will be joining us on the writing team.’

The synopsis for the project: ‘When future feminist icon 15-year-old Bel Jones has a political awakening on the suburban grounds of her 1990s high school, she attempts to rally those around her to the cause. But she soon discovers that her message will be met with opposition every step of the way, and must choose between fitting in or fighting for a future world she wants to live in.’ 

Aquarius have just wrapped on filming Born to Spy, the 10 x half hour series for the ABC.

No TV broadcaster or streaming platform has yet been announced for Fight Like a Girl.

Rochelle Siemienowicz is a journalist for Screenhub. She is a writer, film critic and cultural commentator with a PhD in Australian cinema. She was the co-host of Australia's longest-running film podcast 'Hell is for Hyphenates' and has written a memoir, Fallen, published by Affirm Press. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram