Gulfstream Pictures has acquired the feature film rights to Richard N. Goodwin’s play “The Hinge of the World,” which centers on the battle between Galileo and the Pope.
The play was published in 1998 with the title “The Hinge of the World: In Which Professor Galileo Galilei, Chief Mathematician and Philosopher to His Serene Highness the Grand Duke of Tuscany, and His Holiness Urban VIII Battle for the Soul of the World.”
Gulfstream partners Mike Karz and Bill Bindley made the announcement Wednesday.
Goodwin’s story tackles a pivotal moment in history when the door of unquestionable faith was beginning to close and that of reason and science open, personified by the power struggle between the Italian mathematician, philosopher and astronomer Galileo Galilei and his arch-opponent and one-time-friend, Pope Urban VIII.
The story depicts how Galileo, with his newly discovered telescope, tries to convince the 17th century Pope that, contrary to the thinking of the Roman Catholic Church, the Earth was not the center of the universe, but revolved around the Sun.
Goodwin is an author, playwright and former political advisor and White House speechwriter to Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, and Senator Robert F. Kennedy. He and his wife, author and presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, will executive produce.
Goodwin’s play was staged in England in 2003 and in 2009 in Boston (retitled as “Two Men of Florence”) with Edward Herrmann as the Pope and Jay O. Sanders as Galileo.
“We are honored to have this opportunity to develop ‘The Hinge of the World’ into a feature film,” said Karz. “Richard’s play transcends the epic confrontation between Galileo and Pope Urban VIII into a broader exploration of timeless, unending battles of science, faith, philosophy and humanity, and we are looking forward to bringing this age-old conflict to the big screen.”
“The battle between Galileo and Pope Urban really plays out in an exciting and intriguing way, with the earth’s true place in the world hanging in the balance,” said Bindley. “We are thrilled to work closely with Richard and Doris to tell this story.”
Goodwin made a foray into moviemaking previously in 1994’s “Quiz Show.” As special counsel to the Legislative Oversight Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives, he conducted investigation of the “Twenty One Quiz Show” scandal, which he chronicled in his 1988 memoir “Remembering America: A Voice From The Sixties.”
The story from the book became the basis for Robert Redford’s “Quiz Show,” in which Rob Morrow played the role of Goodwin.
“I’m delighted to work with Mike (Karz) and Bill (Bindley) and the team they will assemble to tackle these history-altering issues and the men behind them for moviegoers to see,” said Goodwin. “I have always thought that the epic drama between these two larger-than-life men of the 17th century doing combat has the making for a great film.”
Earlier this month, Open Road Films released Gulfstream Pictures’ “Mother’s Day,” an ensemble starring Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston, Kate Hudson and Jason Sudeikis from director Garry Marshall.
Goodwin is repped by WME.