Casting Call: Exposure

Published November 21, 2016


In which we suggest who should star in the next big adaptation, remake, or historical film.

In 1951, British-born scientist Rosalind Franklin made a discovery that altered the course of human history. It wasn’t until long after her 1957 death, however, that Franklin was recognized as one of the discoverers of DNA’s helical structures alongside James Watson, Francis Crick, and Maurice Wilkins. The story goes that through a painstaking laboratory process of X-Ray diffraction, Franklin was able to render the first clear photo (the famous “Photograph 51”) of DNA that allowed her to study its two strands. Wilkins, a colleague with whom she had always had a contemptuous relationship, sent that photo to Watson and Crick in Cambridge without her knowledge or permission. Photograph 51 went on to be the basis for Watson and Crick’s model of DNA, for which they received a Nobel Prize in 1963. Franklin’s contribution was reduced to a footnote in scientific history and today, the unsung story of Rosalind Franklin has become emblematic not only of workplace sexism, but of woman’s broader struggle for recognition in a male-dominated world.

Recently, Deadline announced that Niki Caro (Whale Rider, North Country) has signed on to direct Exposure, a film based on Franklin’s life and relationships with Watson, Crick, and Wilkins. It’s an ambitious project, as the drama of Franklin’s snub seems to have played out more in history than it did in her real life; Franklin never knew how heavily Watson and Crick relied on her data, and she evidently harbored no resentment, even becoming close friends with Crick in the last years of her life. It will certainly be interesting to see how Exposure will interpret the personal and professional drama among this cast of characters that changed our understanding of science. With no casting decisions made yet, we’d like to make some suggestions. 


Casting Call runs on Fridays. For more, click here.