Launch Pad alum Caitlin McCarthy’s award-winning screenplay WONDER DRUG is taking off with producer Stephen Nemeth (Founder and President of Rhino Films) and director Tom Gilroy (critically-acclaimed features SPRING FORWARD and THE COLD LANDS).
Inspired by actual events, WONDER DRUG chronicles the story of DES (diethylstilbestrol), a groundbreaking form of synthetic estrogen that became one of the most devastating drug disasters in history, affecting millions worldwide. DES is often referred to as the “hidden Thalidomide.”
WONDER DRUG had its origins as an Alfred P. Foundation script at the Hamptons Screenwriters Lab, where Gilroy mentored McCarthy on the screenplay. Gilroy went on to direct two live staged readings of WONDER DRUG: at the Hamptons International Film Festival, starring Steve Guttenberg and Alysia Reiner; and at the Manhattan Theatre Club, starring Alysia Reiner and David Alan Basche.
The screenplay for WONDER DRUG has already won numerous awards and honors, including: Top 50 script/Top 10 female writer (for McCarthy) in the Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting; “Featured Script” on The Black List website; and honoree on The Bitch List (which features unproduced scripts that pass the Bechdel Test).
Sir Ralph Dodds (son of DES creator Sir Charles Dodds) served as McCarthy’s script consultant. P. Harry Jellinck (B.A., B.Sc., M.Sc., Ph.D.) was McCarthy’s scientific mentor.
As a DES Daughter and activist, McCarthy worked closely with the offices of former U.S. Senators John Kerry and Scott Brown on securing an apology from the FDA for the DES drug disaster. Thanks to this campaign, the FDA finally acknowledged DES as a “tragedy” in 2011, after 40 years of silence. McCarthy’s DES activism earned her two nominations (in 2011 and 2012) for a Presidential Citizens Medal; a Human and Civil Rights Award from the Massachusetts Teachers Association, and the “Service to Community” Alumni Award from Regis College in Weston, MA.
McCarthy appeared as a finalist in the 2016 Launch Pad Pilots Competition with her original drama pilot FREE SKATE. She writes feature screenplays, one-hour teleplays, essays, and novels. Her stories tackle political and social issues with a wink, blending humor with heartbreak while always staying focused on action. She is repped by Barry Krost of Barry Krost Management.
Stephen Nemeth formed and heads up Rhino Films, the independent film company that originated as a division of iconoclastic record label Rhino Records. He has produced and executive produced dozens of films including THE SESSIONS (Sundance 2012 Audience Award, 2013 Academy Award nomination for Helen Hunt), C.O.G. (Sundance 2013), FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS, WHY DO FOOLS FALL IN LOVE, RADIO FREE ALBEMUTH, and the upcoming FEAR AND LOATHING IN ASPEN (SXSW 2020). He is developing the New York Times bestselling book CONFESSIONS OF AN ECONOMIC HIT MAN as a television series and in pre-production on Hunter S. Thompson’s THE CURSE OF LONO. Nemeth’s documentary credits include DOGTOWN AND Z BOYS (Sundance 2001 Audience Award), PICK UP THE MIC (Toronto 2005), WARDANCE (2008 Academy Award nomination), FUEL (Sundance 2008 Audience Award), FLOW (Sundance 2008), CLIMATE REFUGEES (Sundance 2010), ROBERT WILLIAMS MR. BITCHIN’, UNDER THE BOARDWALK: THE MONOPOLY STORY, GOOD FORTUNE, and LOGAN’S SYNDROME. He is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and on the board of numerous non-profit organizations including Friends of the Earth, Children Uniting Nations, and the International Documentary Association, and is on the dean’s board of the UC Santa Cruz’s School for the Arts.
Tom Gilroy is a writer/director/producer/actor from New York and has appeared in over 30 films, having worked with such directors as Ken Loach, Sidney Lumet, Jean-Luc Godard, Jim McKay, Christopher Munch, Paul Auster, and multi-media artist Robert Longo. He has written, directed and produced three award winning films: the short TOUCH BASE (IFC/BRAVO); the critically-acclaimed feature SPRING FORWARD (IFC/MGM) starring Liev Schreiber, Ned Beatty, and Campbell Scott; and THE COLD LANDS starring Lili Taylor, Peter Scanavino, and Silas Yelich. Gilroy’s latest short #WAYNESVILLESTRONG had its online premiere in July 2020. Upcoming features include OUR LADY OF THE SNOW, which he wrote and will direct this winter, starring Isabella Rossellini, Grace Zabriskie, Lili Taylor, and Jared Harris; and STAR OF THE SEA, a gender-fluid YA time-travel film that he wrote for Nick Sandow to direct. Gilroy’s plays – most notably THE INVISIBLE HAND and HALCION DAYS – have been produced in several U.S. cities and around the world. With his theatre company Machine Full (co-founded with Lili Taylor and Michael Imperioli), Gilroy has produced over a dozen critically acclaimed productions, including HAMLET, starring Richard Harris, Jared Harris, and Lili Taylor. He is repped by Lillian LaSalle, President of Sweet 180 Management and Production.