Katherine Heigl will star as trailblazer Victoria Woodhull, a leader of the suffrage movement in the United States and the first woman to ever run for president, in a new limited series from Oakhurst Entertainment. She will also serve as an executive producer for the project, currently titled “Woodhull”, which will tell the remarkable story of the feminist icon.

In 1872, Woodhull became the first woman to run for  president of the United States under the Equal Rights Party, supporting women’s suffrage and equal rights. Her running mate was famed abolitionist leader Frederick Douglas. She was the first woman to address the U.S. Congress and, with her sister Tennessee, the two became the first women to operate a brokerage firm on Wall Street.

The sisters founded their own newspaper, Woodhull & Claflin’s Weekly, in 1870, which would land her in jail just days before the election. Woodhull published an article in her paper detailing an adulterous affair between prominent preacher Henry Ward Beecher and Elizabeth Richards Tilton. Since the piece had more suggestive details than was considered appropriate at the time, the sisters were arrested on obscenity charges. Woodhull was also accused of blackmail and prostitution. It was this arrest and Woodhull’s subsequent acquittal that propelled Congress to pass the 1873 Comstock Laws governing obscene content.

Woodhull lead a colorful life even by today’s standards. In her younger years, she worked as a traveling clairvoyant in medicine shows. She preached and practiced the concept of free love, once living in a New York apartment with her husband, her ex-husband and her lover at the same time. Despite her unconventional lifestyle, Woodhull was one of the boldest voices for women’s rights in the 19th century, highly regarded by both her contemporaries and the media.

The moment I discovered the almost too big to be true story of Victoria I have been enthralled and deeply invested in bringing her life story to the screen.

— Katherine Heigl

Victoria Woodhull

“The moment I discovered the almost too big to be true story of Victoria I have been enthralled and deeply invested in bringing her life story to the screen,” Heigl said. “Victoria’s outrageous courage, determination, intelligence and hutzpah would be remarkable in our modern times but was downright revolutionary in hers. Her name and her story has not been celebrated nearly enough for the trails she blazed and the paths she forged for all the women who came after her. I cannot wait to tell the story of this woman who would not be stopped in a time that forbade her to even start.”

Woodhull also clashed with pillars of society such as Cornelius Vanderbilt, Harriet Beecher Stowe and Susan B. Anthony. The series will reflect these encounters, and will not just be the story of one woman, but of the time in which she lived and the many famous figures whose lives she touched.

The show, which is currently in development and out to showrunners, will be based on multiple biographies chronicling the life of Woodhull. Oakhurst, founded by former Brillstein Entertainment manager Jai Khanna and producer Marina Grasic, acquired the project earlier this year. Katherine will produce “Woodhull with her mother and producing partner, Nancy Heigl, via their Abishag banner.

“We are extraordinarily excited to have Katherine Heigl on board – we have always been a big fan of her work and were delighted to discover she was an avid Woodhull fan herself,” Khanna said.