Rosalind Franklin, the British scientist whose research enabled the discovery of DNA’s double helix, will be getting a biopic if spec script Exposure is made. Fingers crossed, because not only would a feature film bring Franklin some much-deserved recognition — her life would make for quite a dramatic movie.
Throughout her career — which ended tragically early, when she died of ovarian cancer in 1958 at age 37 — she faced sexism at nearly every turn. The fact that she was a woman didn’t just affect the way her work was received — it also meant, for example, that she couldn’t access certain “men’s only” spaces where she worked at King’s College in London. She also happened to be Jewish, which heightened prejudice against her.
We’ve seen a lot of movies about groundbreaking, rule-breaking, boundary-busting male scientists, with The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything being two high-profile recent examples. And we do see women as fictional scientists quite a lot, particularly when space travel is involved (think Gravity, The Martian and so on). But movies about real-life female scientists are less common. Now that we’ll be getting Hidden Figures, about the African American women who were instrumental in building NASA’s space program, and maybe Exposure, too — it seems a welcome new trend may be emerging.
Image: Nicole Kidman rehearses for her role as Rosalind Franklin in Anna Ziegler’s play Photograph 51. (Photo by Marc Brenner/The Michael Grandage Company via Getty Images)