(Update 4/22/10 – Deschanel's spokesperson refutes the actresses involvement, stating, "“Zooey has never been involved with this project.”)
As a female geek, I'm a bit excited about this news. According to a piece at Cinematical, a new movie is planned about Ada Lovelace and will star Zooey Deschanel (Failure to Launch, (500) Days of Summer). The movie, to be called Enchantress of Numbers, will be about her life and about the contributions she made to the personal computer.
There is very little information out there as of yet about the movie. Lovelace, the only daughter of the poet Lord Byron, is credited with being one of the first computer programmers, writing a program for one of Charles Babbage's analytical engines and making extensive notes about the engine and its programming. As was often the case during the Victorian era, Babbage did not mention Lovelace's contributions, but most assume they were significant and her notes still exist, showing her thorough understanding of how the machine worked.
The United States Department of Defense named a computer language after her, calling it Ada. Though it is no longer the official language of the DoD, it is still used today. March 24 has been name Ada Lovelace Day, a day to commemorate the contributions of women to computer science and engineering.
This won't be the first movie about Lovelace. Over ten years ago, Conceiving Ada was released. That movie, however, set in modern times, is about a woman who channels Ada and shows her memories on a computer screen. Intriguing, for sure, but not exactly a realistic depiction. Hopefully, this newer version will be more serious than Conceiving Ada. I'm very much looking forward to seeing what they do with the film and what Deschanel can bring to the role of Ada.