BREAKING: Richard Goodwin’s play The Hinge of the World which tells the story about the epic battle between the Roman Catholic Church and astronomer Galileo Galileo when faith clashed with science is being developed for the big screen by Mike Karz and Bill Bindley’s Warner Bros.-based Gulfstream Pictures.
Goodwin is an author, playwright and former political advisor and White House speechwriter to Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Senator Robert F. Kennedy. He and his wife, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, will executive produce.
The play was published in 1998 by Farrer Straus and Giroux under the long 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, Bishop of Rome, Battle for the Soul of the World. Under the shortened title, The Hinge of the World, it was first performed in 2003 in England at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre under the direction of Edward Hall (who then also served as director in 2009 of the U.S. run at the Huntington Theatre in Boston where it was re-titled the Two Men of Florence. That version starred starred Edward Herrmann as Pope Urban VIII and Jay O. Sanders as Galileo.
The film will stay true to the spirit of the play in that it will revolve around the one-time friends whose vehement disagreements led to the Church calling Galileo out for heresy when science started to challenge long-held beliefs. During that time, around 1610, the Church was never questioned, yet Galileo who had a passion, curiosity and a telescope started to question everything after logging what he was learning through his scientific research. He published much of his findings in a book that were disavowed by Pope Urban VIII and the Catholic Church. Despite delving into dangerous territory, Galileo continued his research into comets, tide movements until he was ultimately ordered by the Church to stop teaching his ideas.
The brilliant scientist, engineer, physicist and mathematician who helped discover the law of the pendulum (which became the basis for modern-day clocks), who pushed scientists to conduct experiments to prove theorems, who continued the work of Nicolaus Copernicus to help understand our own universe and laid the groundwork for modern astronomy eventually lost his battle with the powerful Roman Catholic Church. He was tried for heresy and sentenced to imprisonment at the age of 68 where he would remain until his death nine years later at age 77.
Goodwin is no stranger to Hollywood. In fact, one of the investigations he was involved in ended up as the basis for a film. He was special counsel to the Legislative Oversight Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives which conducted the investigation of the Twenty One Quiz Show scandal and the author chronicled that his 1988 memoir Remembering America: A Voice From The Sixties. That story was then brought to the big screen in the critically acclaimed 1994 film Quiz Show. Rob Morrow played the role of Goodwin in the film that garnered four Oscar noms including Best Picture.
Gulfstream Pictures, who is developing Hinge of the World, just recently produced the Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston-starring feature Mothers Day (which was released via Open Road). The company is funded by Korea-based 3D stereoscopic company Redrover Co., Ltd. along with a consortium of U.S. private equity funds. Gulfstream’s other credits include Blended (2014) with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore and the animated family film The Nut Job which was also distributed through Open Road; A sequel is due to be released on May 18, 2017.
Other projects currently in development at Gulfstream include the romantic drama feature film, Balanchine, based on the life of influential ballet choreographer George Balanchine and King David, based on Rabbi David Wolpe’s book David: The Divided Heart.
Richard Goodwin is repped by Susan Weaving at WME.