My new film, Ingenue, has a Rosalind Franklin connection to bring more awareness to this amazing woman and the fantastic discoveries that women have brought to science…But it didn’t start out that way…
Ingenue is a movie about a married couple that finds a Human Analog (clone) in hyper-sleep in their basement. The couple is then blackmailed into raising the Analog and teaching her what it means to be human. Trailer here.
When I started writing Ingenue, I knew the name of the found clone needed to have meaning behind it and needed to be a name not heard in a while to set her a part from modern day. I though what would our fictional 1950’s scientist read for fun? I went with Shakespeare. I thought of Love’s Labor’s Lost as it fit with the idea that our Dr. Johnson never really lived long enough to see his last experiment complete. I picked the name Rosaline.
Then came the part in the script where I needed to know more about DNA, when it was discovered and how my fictional scientist could have come up with cloning in this sci-fi universe. I wanted it to stem from reality but add in some ‘movie truth’. I dug into Watson and Crick’s discoveries when I saw a name that looked familiar – Rosalind Franklin.
I thought it was too good to be true. Her name was similar to the fictional character I had already created. I learned everything I could about her. She was amazing. Because of her skills in x-ray diffraction she was the key to Watson and Crick’s discovery of the double helix structure which allowed us to know how DNA was constructed and how genetic information was passed from parent to child. I saw more and more of how she was cut out of being an equal partner as her discoveries where passed on to Crick without her knowledge. I was saddened that she was not given the Nobel Prize with Watson and Crick even though she had not lived long enough to see it awarded.
So to pay tribute, and spark viewers to learn more about the real women, I incorporated Rosalind Franklin into the script as a ‘what if’ scenario What if our scientist in Chicago was obsessed with the discoveries coming from Watson & Crick & Franklin? I made up scenario that Franklin gave a presentation in Chicago and our fictional doctor stole a piece of her DNA. From the DNA he made our character who we nicknamed “Rosie.”
In my mind Dr. Johnson saw the intelligence and strength in this woman but knew the world was not ready for such a mind in a woman so he wanted to be able to clone a human analog of her in hopes of learning from her and being able to keep her until there was a time where women were respected in science. Dr. Johnson didn’t live long enough to have that come to fruition.
All of the Ingenue film happens in modern day and Dr. Johnson and his experiments are talked about and all this makes our awakened clone Rosie wonder just who she is. Is she this brilliant scientist lost to us too soon? Or something else? In a pivotal moment in the film Rosie comes face-to-face with abstraction of Rosalind Franklin – Rosie’s interpretation of this no-nonsense, logical and precise woman.
The scene can be read as facing the ego and ID. The scene can be read as facing who you think you should be vs. who you are. Or it can be read as the clone vs the original.
We were super fortunate in casting as I found Sarah Moore looked the most like the real life Rosalind Franklin. We even had her pose like the classic picture of the real woman.
April 25, 2013 marks the 60th anniversary of the discovery of the double helix of DNA and the 10th anniversary of the first DNA sequencing of the human genome. There will be celebrations happening around the world including Cambridge, UK.
Many times I see Rosalind Franklin listed as a footnote in articles such as “Rosalind Franklin also played a key role in the discovery of DNA but died in 1958, before the prize was awarded.” as in this article
I hope our film, Ingenue, sheds more light on her importance and continuing inspiration to women in science. You can buy a copy of the DVD or Companion Book here.
More info about the film at www.karmiccourage.com
Recent items have come up for auction from the Crick Family including a letter from Crick to his son with a drawing of the double helix, his Nobel Prize Metal, endorsed award check, labcoat and other effects and http://cosmiclog.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/04/08/17645497-when-dna-pioneers-nobel-prize-and-mementos-are-sold-science-profits?lite