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Hollywood plans feature film based on Dick Goodwin play

Author Dick Goodwin

Eric Levin

Author Dick Goodwin

With an eye toward turning the play into a feature film, Hollywood’s Gulfstream Pictures has acquired the rights to Dick Goodwin’s historical-philosophical drama, “The Hinge of the World.” Gulfstream partners Mike Karz and Bill Bindley announced the deal Wednesday. Goodwin (inset), who lives in Concord with his wife, presidential historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, said he’s delighted. “I’m very pleased. Wouldn’t you be?” Goodwin joked. “I worked very hard writing this play and I love the idea.”

Originally published in 1998, the play concerns the pivotal moment when faith was giving way to reason in a clash personified by the great Italian mathematician-astronomer Galileo and his onetime friend Pope Urban VIII. The play was staged for the first time in England in 2003 under the direction of Edward Hall, who also directed a production at the Huntington Theatre in 2009 starring the late Edward Herrmann as the Pope and Jay O. Sanders as Galileo. (That production was titled “Two Men of Florence,” which is considerably easier to remember than the play’s original 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.”)

This won’t be the Goodwins’s first Hollywood rodeo. As special counsel to the congressional committee that investigated the game show “Twenty One,” Goodwin was at the center of Robert Redford’s 1994 film, “Quiz Show,” in which he was played by Rob Morrow. And Steven Spielberg’s 2012 movie, “Lincoln,” was based in part on Kearns Goodwin’s book “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln.” “The experience of the play was probably the happiest experience of our lives,” Kearns Goodwin said. “Now, to have a movie made of this epic story with these two huge characters, it’s so great.”

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