Terry Rossio, the Oscar-nominated writer of “Shrek” and the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise, has teamed with Dr. Jocelyn Stamat to acquire the film rights to “Callous Disregard: Autism and Vaccines — the Truth Behind a Tragedy,” by Dr. Andrew Wakefield.
Rossio and Dr. Stamat will adapt the book, which was published in 2010, and produce the project through their Chamaeleon Productions banner. As part of the deal, Chamaeleon also secured Dr. Wakefield’s life rights.
“Callous Disregard” details the key events surrounding the 1998 paper in the British medical journal The Lancet, co-authored by Dr. Wakefield, that investigated a potential link between chronic enterocolitis and neuropsychiatric dysfunction in 12 children, most of whom had received the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine. In 2010, The Lancet retracted the paper after accusations of misconduct were leveled against the co-authors. That same year, the United Kingdom’s General Medical Council, in the lengthiest trial in its history, revoked the medical license of Dr. Wakefield.
“Dr. Wakefield is clearly a polarizing figure, reviled by the general public yet also revered by many. The details and drama surrounding his life are even more remarkable than generally known,” said Rossio.
“We look forward to bringing Andrew Wakefield’s personal story to the screen and exploring a topic of vast importance to public health and the health of the nation’s children,” added Dr. Stamat, a graduate of Harvard and Duke University School of Medicine, who, in addition to being a practicing otolaryngologist, is also a screenwriter and director.
Dr. Wakefield recently re-entered the public sphere with the documentary film “Vaxxed: From Cover-Up to Catastrophe,” which was accepted and then rejected by the Tribeca Film Festival. The film is currently playing in New York and Los Angeles.