Hollywood studios are vying to adapt their book, Vaxxers: The Inside Story of the Oxford AstraZeneca Vaccine and the Race Against the Virus, into a movie
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Hollywood film bosses are clambering to make a biopic of the UK’s two vaccine heroes Professor Dame Sarah Gilbert and Dr Catherine Green who co-created the Oxford/AstraZeneca inoculation.
But Dr Catherine fears a movie about their research, which several studios are vying for, will merely end up chronicling “two boring, middle-aged women sending emails” – “there’s no sex, drugs and rock and roll,” she warns.
Conceding their jab – which has so far saved over 30,000 lives – could possibly count as a drugs element, she jokes that as a divorcee, her sex life will be somewhat lacking in the script.
Speaking at the GQ Men of the Year awards, where Prince Harry commended the pair as they were named Heroes, Catherine says she would like Bridget Jones star Renee Zellweger to portray her as she relates to her portrayal of the character while Dame Sarah – a mother of triplets – would be ideally cast by Cate Blanchett.
Hollywood director Quentin Tarantino, who was also honoured at the ceremony, believes a movie about the pair’s astonishing work could be a box office hit, but the Pulp Fiction creator does not believe he is best suited to take the reins.
“I don’t think it’s my type of film,” said the Reservoir Dogs filmmaker. “But I would watch it.”
The scientists revealed the inside scope on their quest to combat the pandemic in their book, Vaxxers: The Inside Story of the Oxford AstraZeneca Vaccine and the Race Against the Virus.
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Since its publication in July, an agent for the pair has been approached for its rights by various film companies, they confirm. A Horizon documentary which aired in June followed the development of the dose in their lab at Oxford University.
In a live video link from LA at the ceremony, held in association with Boss, Prince Harry described the pair as “exceptional” and “a bulwark of humanity” and said of their researchers: “The Oxford team are heroes of the highest order – they are our nation’s pride and we are deeply indebted to their service.”
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He also lambasted “mass-scale misinformation” and “those who peddle in lies and fear” for “creating vaccine hesitancy, which in turn is dividing communities and eroding trust”.
The pair, who are passionate about using the vaccine to help immunise poorer countries, said the Duke of Sussex’s appearance was “surreal” and Dame Sarah added: “We didn’t know that was going to happen, so suddenly Prince Harry’s on stage. And he said all of the things we wanted to say about the necessity to get vaccines to the world for people irrespective of their ability to pay. A really important message.”
In June, Dame Sarah, 59, received a standing ovation from the crowd at Centre Court while attending the Wimbledon tennis tournament – one of the first sporting events to return thanks to her work.
The pair started work on the vaccine as soon as Chinese health officials published the COVID-19 genetic sequence in January 2020.
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