Rebecca Ferguson To Play Explorer Ruth Harkness In 'The Lady And The Panda'

Ever wonder how and why Americans are always so obsessed with pandas? Every time one gives birth its like a national holiday, and the news coverage is just shy of the Presidential elections. Well, you have socialite Ruth Harkness to thank for it, as she was the first to bring a live giant panda into this country. And the story of how she did it is about to become a movie starring Mission: Impossible-Rogue Nation's Rebecca Ferguson.

Ferguson will star in an adaptation of Harkness' memoir and correspondence, The Lady and the Panda.  Directed and co-written by Justin Chadwick (Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom), the film tells the story of Harkness, a New York socialite whose husband had died while in China searching for a panda. She decided to take up the expedition herself, and joined by Chinese guide Quentin Young they passed through Chongqing and Chengdu into a mountainous region where they rescued an orphaned 9-week-old panda cub. In 1936 she brought the cub, named Su Lin, to America and it became a national sensation.

The busy Ferguson, who was last seen in The Girl On the Train, will begin filming on The Lady and the Panda next month.