Mark Twain & Mary Baker Eddy - A film by Val Kilmer


Mary Baker Eddy

Mary Baker Eddy is a spiritual genius. Fearless, stunning, tenacious, she has achieved fame and fortune as a best-selling author and sought-after healer. Her most outspoken critic and admirer is the sharp-tongued and irreverent Mark Twain who calls her “garrulous, ungrammatical and naively and everlastingly self-contradictory” but concedes that she is “the most daring and masterful woman that ever lived, and the most extraordinary.”

  • Leave a comment to suggest an actor for this role

409 Responses to “Mary Baker Eddy”

  1. The young woman that did the readings in the 2000 tape

    Daughter of New England
    Citizen of the World

    It was presented by the MBE Libary

    Sorry I don’t know the young womans name/but as she stood reading there was a picture of Mrs Eddy in the background, I thought, my goodness this young woman even
    looks like Mary.
    Her father read too & probably something in the film for him as well

  2. Ros Christian says:

    I support a lot of the other comments that the individual portraying Mrs Eddy would have to have a great understanding of Christian Science and Mrs Eddy’s enormous contribution to the world in reinstating Christian healing. I think Cate Blanchett would be great; also possibly Meryl Streep or Glenn Close. All very capable character actors.

  3. Kathryn says:

    I can’t help thinking that it might be best if an unknown (or relatively unknown) actress played the part of Mary Baker Eddy. She is such a unique and enormous figure in the history of Christianity that a well-known or famous actress could easily overshadow the character she is attempting to play and no actress should overshadow the character of Mary Baker Eddy. As a result of this film, I would hope that people would become more familiar with the real Mary Baker Eddy and not be overwhelmed by the status of the actress portraying her. Mark Twain is being portrayed by a great, world-class actor. He alone will draw large audiences. But if there were 2 great actors playing the 2 leading roles, their status as great actors might just get in the way of the story.

    Also, there may be a famous actress out there somewhere who is also a Christian Scientist and able to play the part of Mary Baker Eddy, but I don’t know of one; and I do believe there is a real need to have a Christian Scientist play the part. How else could an actress understand her in the way she wanted to be understood by the world, i.e., in her “true light and life,” unless the actress has a demonstrable understanding of her most important work, the book she literally dedicated her life to writing, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures? Maybe Principia has someone to offer? Or maybe there is an aspiring, unknown actress at the Actors Studio Drama School or some other acting school who is also a devoted Christian Scientist? As no one can play Mark Twain who does not understand his writings, so no one can play Mary Baker Eddy who does not understand her writings. It is simply not possible, because to truly understand Mary Baker Eddy’s writings is to be able to demonstrate the Science she discovered, founded, and gave to the world.

    I’m thankful that Val understands her writings and the need to have an actress play Mary Baker Eddy who also understands her writings. In an article entitled “On the big screen–the genious of Mary Baker Eddy” printed in the December 14, 2009, issue of the Christian Science Sentinel and reprinted online at, in reply to a question asking whether it was “important for whoever plays her to be familiar with her work—-Science and Health for instance?” Val is quoted as saying, “Sure. You could play Shakespeare without reading all of his works, but why would you try? There’s so much of his life that’s in there.” That really is the question, isn’t it? and it really is the answer. “Why would you try?”

  4. Melinda J says:


  5. Ruth says:

    I would be very interested in trying out for the part.

  6. Judy says:

    A good actor is a good actor. I dont think that the person who portrays Mary Baker Eddy should be a Christian Scientist unless that person is an internationally recognised actor who can best portray Eddy’s strength, warmth, perceptiveness.
    A good actor will study their character intently. Suggestions previously made: Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, Kate Winslet and Glenn Close are all good options. Also Helen Merryn is worth consideration.
    In order to reach a broard international audience you need a BIG name.
    (Personally, Cate Blanchett: absolute talent and…fellow Australian)

  7. Kathryn says:

    It occurs to me that the very reason we have had such varied and, for the most part, miserable portrayals of Christ Jesus in the movies is that the world in general still does not understand what he was actually thinking when he healed people. The early Christians understood, as evidenced by their healing ability, which he clearly stated would follow as “signs” of “them that believe.”

    But in 325 A.D. at the first Counsel of Nicaea he was “officially” deified, and the understanding of what he actually taught over and over again about his oneness with the Father as the Son of God was all but lost for centuries. A deified Jesus is the image of an anthropomoric god, not the Son of God, Spirit, Love. Consequently, nearly every portrayal of him in the movies has been very far from his true character.

    In the same way, if an actress who is not a Christian Scientist were to attempt to portray Mary Baker Eddy, she would be unable to do so accurately because she would not and could not understand Mrs. Eddy’s thinking; and the resulting first portrayal of her in film would not do her justice, and could possibly spawn future portrayals that distort her true character so badly that she would be utterly unrecognizable to Christian Scientists.

    An unknown actress who is not a Christian Scientist, but who, in preparing for the role, reads and studies all her published writings, could not avoid, — if she actually understood what she read, — becoming a Christian Scientist in the process, i.e., gaining the power to heal as Christ Jesus healed. Anyone who does not understand her meaning could not possibly portray her accurately. Not even close. In the Preface to Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (Preface x:27), she writes:

    “Only those quarrel with her method who do not understand her meaning, or discerning the truth, come not to the light lest their works be reproved. No intellectual proficiency is requisite in the learner, but sound morals are most desirable.”

    God annoints and appoints, and if this movie is appointed by God, then the actress is already chosen of God and will be known and recognized, by those selecting her, at the right time and in the right way.

    I’m glad to see people on this site volunteering to audition for the part. It would be a daunting role for most actresses to even attempt and will take great courage, humility, and grace, — in addition to a demonstrable understanding of Christian Science, — to step forward to accept this challenge.

  8. Eva says:

    Helen Bonham Carter

  9. Diane says:

    Sandra Bullock – She is an excellent actress able to protray many characters. She also has enough star power to attract more to the movie so the message can be sent. She would be able to look most like the character she plays with makeup. Many more reasons why she would be the best actress for this part.

  10. Irene says:

    winona ryder.

  11. Mike Hughes says:

    Marion Cotillard from “Public Enemies”

  12. Betty says:

    I have a few suggestions for actresses that could play Mary Baker Eddy.

    1. Melissa Gilbert
    2. Nicole Kidman
    3. Sally Fields

  13. Betty says:

    One more comment. You posted “becoming a Christian Scientist in the process, i.e., gaining the power to heal as Christ Jesus healed”

    What is there to understand about the process. Jesus heals today, all you have to do is ask Him – it’s that simple.

  14. Teresa says:

    Mary Steenbergen.

  15. How about Nicole Kidman with makeup? She’s delicate enough feature-wise, and she’s a great actress who goes deeply into the essence of her characters. I don’t think the actor who plays MBE needs to be a Christian Scientist–just a great actor who respects the characters she plays.

    That’s my two cents. I’m a CS myself, and I look forward to this movie.

  16. Ann says:


  17. Ann says:

    She is really a Wise One.

    Betty Davis could have pulled it off beautifully.

    Afraid to mention this, but how about Joanne whalley?

    Drew Barrymore. or Debra Wenger. or the Jessica Lang? she would be great!

  18. Kirsti says:

    Just noticed that Carrie-Anne Moss resembles her, especially when MBE was younger.

  19. Kirsti says:

    Carrie-Anne Moss was in The Matrix and Chocolat, both very cool movies, and sort’ve spiritual roles, though very different from this.

  20. Ellie says:

    Libby Skala is a very talented young woman. She is a sincere student of Christian Science as well as an actress. She performs two wonderful one-woman shows where she “becomes” her Grandmother and Great Aunt, who were a famous actress and successful dancer. You can reach her at You can learn more about her here:

    You can google her and read lots of great reviews about her shows. We were VERY impressed when we saw the one about her Grandmother.

  21. Kathryn says:

    The suggestion from Carole Bergevom regarding the young woman who did the readings in the 2000 tape, “Mary Baker Eddy: Daughter of New England… Citizen of the World…” inspired me to replay that tape, — and I thank her for mentioning it. The tape covers 3 decades of Mrs. Eddy’s life, including the 1860s, 1870s, and 1880s. The section on the 1880s, which runs approximately 22-minutes, presents a dramatic reading of 12 of Mrs. Eddy’s letters, with narration about the historical context of each letter being provided by the famous American playwright, Horton Foote, just prior to the reading of the letters themselves, which was done by his daughter and actress, Hallie Foote.

    After replaying the tape, I must agree that Hallie certainly does bear a strong resemblance to Mrs. Eddy, and found her readings to be both professional and humble, but only hinting at the wide acting range of this professional actress, who has apparently devoted her life to her father’s plays. Articles about both Horton and Hallie Foote can be found on wikipedia and in many other places on the internet. After reviewing her performance in these readings, I, too, would like to see her audition for the part of Mrs. Eddy in this new film, “Mark Twain and Mary Baker Eddy.” She has performed on stage since 1986, — both on and off Broadway, — as well as in television and film, and has received several acting awards.

    I found many pictures of Hallie online, one of which showed her on stage in costume and makeup, portraying an elderly woman in the play, The Orphan’s Home Cycle, Part 1: The Story of Childhood, by Horton Foote, directed by Michael Wilson for Hartford Stage Company, in collaboration with Signature Theatre Company. 09/03/09

    She could certainly play a woman in her late 80s with all the vigor, intelligence, sincerity, spiritual understanding, and wit that Mrs. Eddy was known to have. Having no real knowledge of her religious convictions, I can only assume she is a Christian Scientist, since her father certainly was, and since she did the readings in the tape referred to above. That, to my sense, along with her substantial acting experience and obvious talent, makes her a prime candidate worthy of serious consideration for this role of a lifetime.

  22. Rachael says:

    I, for one, would love to see y’all pick an actress with a few decades under her belt. I think it’d be a disservice to get a fresh-faced ingenue to represent the powerhouse that was MBE in her latter days, no matter the talent of the make-up artist.

    Secondly, I’m sure you’re sensitive to the fact ANYBODY would be upstaged by a man as deliciously funny as Samuel Clemens was, (played to boot by the charismatic Mr. Kilmer). Do give the woman a few witty lines, to hint she was more than a formidable schoolmarm with a following.

    All the best!

  23. Kathryn says:

    The suggestion from Ellie about Libby Skala is an excellent one, and I thank her for suggesting it! I followed the link she provided and played the 3 little video clips on that site found at They are very interesting and were filmed at the Mary Baker Eddy Library for the Betterment of Humanity. I, too, would love to see Libby considered for this part!

  24. Kit Fuchs says:

    What about Kathy Baker? Not the blond. The actress from “Misery” and “Dolores Claiborne”. And Val–How wonderful, wise and generous of you to open this up to the common man. Yes, this movie is your baby, but it’s also a much-needed gift to the world. Bless you for allowing us to share in its birth!

  25. Becca says:

    She and Kyra Sedgewick favor each other…if you deflated Kyra’s lips. On a side note..I’d say ‘Me’..but I don’t resemble Ms.Eddy at all!

    I am looking forward to seeing the film. Good luck!


  26. Daniel says:

    Juliet Landau has some of her features. Maggie Gyllenhaal also could look the part.

  27. L.. says:

    For a character like this you need someone with spunk. Reese witherspoon wud do.or Leeanna Walsman

  28. Savannah Robinson says:

    Definitely Meryl Streep.She is elegant and beautiful as was Mary Baker Eddy.

  29. Chris Yearwood says:

    One actress that sticks in my mind is Helen Mirren. I think she’d be perfect.

  30. Steve Warren says:

    Meryl Streep can capture the humor, the depth, the child-like humility along with the grandiloquence, and that mischievous gleam-in-her-eye that Mrs. Eddy was so capable of.

  31. Thomas Raukamp says:

    Only one name comes to mind: Meryl Streep.

  32. CAF says:

    Susan Sarandon – witty, sharp, deeply feeling and caring, could age up or down as needed

    Meryl Streep – for the same reasons

  33. Joe says:

    My first thought was Mary Steenbergen as well.

  34. Kit Fuchs says:

    Last week I suggested Kathy Baker from “Misery” when I meant to say Kathy Bates. My apologies to one and all. I still feel Kathy Bates is right for this part.

  35. Simone W. Montgomery says:

    Mary Steenburgen has Mrs. Eddy’s physical stature; she is tiny, elegant, and has a voice which is both “chirplike” and strong…I can well imaginine her acting out the sections of the film which will require that she states her opinions and thoughts firmly and having her ideas being taken seriously, especially by Samuel Clemens. As an actress, Ms. Steenburgenand is an engaging speaker, and witty. Mrs Eddy had her humorous side also!!

  36. Christina says:

    Susan Sarandon and Glenn Close are my two best suggestions for Mary Baker Eddy

  37. adrienne says:

    Maggie Renzi or Mary Steenburgen

  38. Sarah L says:

    Kristen Scott Thomas

  39. David Kurtz says:

    I suggest Blythe Danner. That is Gweneth Paltrow’s mother. If you need someone younger, they could both play the role.

  40. George says:

    Tilda Swinton or Catherine Keener

  41. Marie says:

    Brie Mattson was raised in a CS family setting. She is in popular sitcoms and commercial. To me, her appearance and serious side is perfect.

  42. Marie says:

    Brie’s resume
    see list of movies

  43. Amanda says:

    Jennifer Love Hewitt, Kate Winslet, Glenn Close, Susan Sarandon, or Tilda Swinton

  44. Heidi says:

    Debra Winger

  45. Marianne says:

    Helen Mirren would do this extremely important role justice.

  46. Meryl Streep exudes a warmth whether on or off screen. She would be very good, but also Glenn close. She has that New England bone structure and New England humor. She also can express a great warmth and understanding when she is talking to another person. Helen Mirren could also play the role. The first two are my favorite choices.

  47. I think Carrie-Ann Moss would bring the right physical appearance and the character combination described in the character description.

  48. Tammy Paladini says:

    I think Carrie Ann Moss as well…second is Cate Blanchett…:)

  49. Kristen Klebenow says:

    This young woman was raised in CS and attended The Principia as a very young child. She is instinctual, subtle and truthful in her work. You can watch her short film, The Elephant Garden which won an award at Tribeca 2008. She is 18 and lives in LA now and will be attending Chapman (Dodge Film School) in the fall to study film acting and production. She looks just like her as well. Ner name is Kelley Mack.

    Mary Baker Eddy’s message of love and healing is so important to our survival and needs to be re-introduced. The love and truth that Jesus gave to us doesn’t change but the way it reaches us does have to. I am so grateful that this project is underway. It will have a enormous impact and is so necessary!! Thank You…

  50. AbduzZhaahir says:

    I think Jesus would want Meryl Streep to play the role, but only if Meryl wants to. Of course, this all depends on whether Val Kilmer likes Meryl, which I would guess he might. They could make a great team, especially if they both like the roles they’re playing.

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