g The Film Panel Notetaker: Hamptons Int'l Film Festival - Screenplay Reading of "Wonder Drug" - October 20, 2007

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Hamptons Int'l Film Festival - Screenplay Reading of "Wonder Drug" - October 20, 2007



("Wonder Drug" screenwriter Caitlin McCarthy and scientific advisor P. Harry Jellinck)


I hopped on the
Hampton Jitney free shuttle bus from The Hunting Inn in East Hampton at about 1:45 pm, and arrived at The Ross School a bit early for a panel I planned to attend starting at 3pm. Upon exiting the Jitney at The Ross School, I saw Hamptons Film Festival Programmer David Nugent heading into the building. I went over to say hello and he invited me to the screenplay reading for Wonder Drug. It was already a bit past 2pm at that point, and I told David thanks, but I didn’t want to enter a screenplay reading if they already started reading it, as I missed the beginning, but then I read the program and noticed that Steve Guttenberg was participating, and I thought to myself, I can’t miss the opportunity to see Steve Guttenberg for the second weekend in a row (read last weekend’s notes from The Actors Dialogue panel at Woodstock Film Festival), so my theory about missing beginnings of screenplay readings went right out the window, and I went in. I probably only missed about the first 5-10 minutes, but was able to catch on pretty easily. This was the first of my science lessons for the day. More notes coming soon from the Sloan Foundation Film Discussion: The Diving Bell and The Butterfly.

Screenplay Summary:
Wonder Drug is a scientific drama of how DES (diethylstilbestrol), the world’s first drug disaster, harms the lives of a Big Pharma executive, a feminist doctor, and a thirtysomething newlywed across different decades. Screenplay by Caitlin McCarthy.

The Cast:

Steve Guttenberg
Alysia Reiner
Suzanne DiDonna
John Lenartz
Rita Rehn
Kathy Searle


A Few Notes from the Q&A:

Screenwriter Caitlin McCarthy and P. Harry Jellinck, scientific advisor of Wonder Drug, answered some questions from the audience. McCarthy began by explaining the background for her screenplay. Two years ago, she found out that she had been exposed to DES. She researched it and wrote the screenplay. Jellinck said his job was to find out what happens to people with DES.

Q: What was the original intent of your screenplay?

(CM) For menopausal women or women with hysterectomies. One reason she wrote the screenplay is that she wants women to make informed choices.

Q: Where did you get your screenwriting skills?


(CM) Masters of Fine Arts from Emerson.

Q: Where will you go from here?

(CM) The script is a finalist in the Sundance Screenwriter’s Lab.

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