Saturday, September 21, 2013

Douglas E. Richards's "The Cure"

Douglas E. Richards is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Wired and its sequel, Amped. Richards has a master's degree in molecular biology (a.k.a.“genetic engineering”), and was a biotechnology executive for many years.

Here the author dreamcasts an adaptation of his new novel, The Cure:
If they were to make The Cure into a film, I believe Scarlett Johansson would be an ideal choice to play the lead, Erin Palmer. Before I explain why, a brief description of Erin from the book’s jacket should prove useful:
Erin Palmer had a devastating encounter with a psychopath as a child. Now a grad student and scientist, she's devoting her life to studying these monsters. When her research catches the attention of Hugh Raborn, a brilliant neuroscientist who claims to have isolated the genes responsible for psychopathic behavior, Erin realizes it may be possible to reverse the condition, restoring souls to psychopaths. But to do so, she'll not only have to operate outside the law, but violate her most cherished ethical principles.

As Erin becomes further involved with Raborn, she begins to suspect that he harbors dark secrets. Is he working for the good of society? Or is he intent on bringing humanity to its knees?

Hunted by powerful, shadowy forces, Erin teams up with another mysterious man, Kyle Hansen, to uncover the truth. The pair soon find themselves pawns in a global conspiracy—one capable of destroying everything Erin holds dear. And forever altering the course of human history...
So why would Scarlett Johansson make a fantastic Erin Palmer? Erin’s graduate work involves her going into a prison and conducting brain scans on known psychopathic murderers and rapists, scenes I took directly from a fascinating conversation I had with Dr. Mike Koenigs at the University of Wisconsin Medical School, who actually does this in real life. Erin is described as having enormous appeal to the opposite sex, and while some might find Scarlett Johansson unappealing, many more find her irresistible (count me among this crowd).

When my character, Erin Palmer, goes into the prison, however, she has to make herself as hideous as possible, wearing drab clothing to hide her figure, wrapping her chest up with gauze tape, etc (since the last thing she wants is to be irresistibly appealing to psychopathic rapists). I believe Johansson, as appealing as she is, could make herself look pretty hideous if she set her mind to it. Finally, Erin is a strong character who is bright, professional, extremely competent, and capable of handling herself well, both physically and mentally, in desperate circumstances, all characteristics that I know Johansson can nail as an actress. Let’s face it, I had no idea who Natasha Romanoff was, and how she fit into The Avengers universe, before Johansson took the role, and now I find Natasha Romanoff to be one of the movie’s most memorable characters.
Learn more about the book and author at Douglas E. Richards’s website.

--Marshal Zeringue