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Rachel Weisz
Credit: George Pimentel/WireImage

Rachel Weisz is about to take on the role of a lifetime.

After more than 20 years spent proving that she’s one of Hollywood’s MVPs, Weisz is stepping into another pivotal role.

Deadlinereports that the actress will portray Dr. James Barry, a surgeon in Victorian England who masqueraded as a man throughout his/her life although s/he was biologically a woman.

Born Margaret Bulkley, James Barry's gender-bending disguise allowed her to practice medicine in the 19th century. It’s unclear whether the surgeon actually identified as male or took on the gender for reasons of professional practicality alone—the topic remains controversial to this day.

VIDEO: At the Cover Shoot with Rachel Weisz, Michelle Williams, and Mila Kunis

The film-to-be is based on a book written by Rachel Holmes: The Secret Life of Dr James Barry: Victorian England's Most Eminent Surgeon ($13; amazon.com)—take a look, and prepare yourself for what we’re certain will be one of Weisz’s most talked-about performances.