Natalie Portman. Photo: MARIO ANZUONI/REUTERS

Natalie Portman is in talks to direct and star in a new biopic about identical twin sisters Esther and Pauline Friedman.

The Oscar-winning actress is close to agreeing on a deal to take control of the project which would see her portray both sisters in the movie.

Esther and Pauline - who were nicknamed Eppie and Popo - were born in Iowa in 1918 and were very close as they grew up, and went on to work together at Morningside College's school newspaper even shared a joint marriage ceremony on their 21st birthday.

However, their relationship soured when Esther - who went on to be known as Eppie Lederer - accepted a position as the Ann Landers advice columnist at the Chicago Sun-Times newspaper leading Pauline to start her own column in 1956 entitled Dear Abby - written under the pen name Abigail Van Buren.

That column was syndicated to over 1,200 newspapers and sparked a feud between the two siblings which lasted decades.

After Esther died in 2002 their daughters kept the feud going.

Portman is to direct the film from a script by The Affair's Katie Robbins. 

The 37-year-old actress will next be seen in musical drama 'Vox Lux' and then 'The Death and Life of John F. Donovan' with Kit Harington.