Peter Bogdanovich will direct “The Broken Code,” a biopic about the research scientist whose X-ray photographs played a key role in James Watson’s and Francis Crick’s discovery of DNA’s double-helical structure.
Casting for “Broken Code” will begin next month, with the aim of going into production in September or October. Nick Hirschkorn from U.K.-based Feel Films will produce with David Baxter and partner Lisa Taback of Nimbus Pictures while Rose Ganguzza, production head for Signature Films Worldwide, will exec produce.
“Broken Code,” scripted by Baxter, is the first pic to emerge from the 4-year-old Tribeca/Sloan Development program, which was launched to develop screenplays that include scientific and technical themes.
Baxter’s script is based on Anne Sayre’s book “Rosalind Franklin and DNA,” which is set in the world of competitive science and explores Franklin’s life along with Watson’s downplaying of her contribution in his 1968 memoir “The Double Helix.”
Franklin, who died of cancer in 1958, never knew Watson had seen her X-ray photographs. Her death prevented her from challenging Watson’s book or being considered for the Nobel Prize, which cannot be awarded posthumously.
The U.K. Film Council and Capitol Films are co-financing further development though the Capitol Films Production “Super Slate” development company, along with Signature Films.
“The Broken Code” is the 10th project on the CFP development slate; the company also will handle international sales of the film.
Bogdanovich’s most recent feature directing gig was “The Cat’s Meow,” starring Kirsten Dunst, for Lionsgate in 2002.