Jeremy Strong has signed on to play Jonas Salk, the inventor of the polio vaccine, in a new film titled Splendid Solution. Gillian Weeks will write the script, which is based on the Jeffrey Kluger novel of the same name. Shawn Levy and Dan Levine from 21 Laps Entertainment will produce.
The film will tell the incredible true story of Salk’s quest to cure polio as the illness ravaged the United States. Beginning in 1948, the future famed virologist began developing a vaccine, finally cracking the code in the mid-50s amid one of the largest polio epidemics the country had ever seen.
He also chose not to patent the vaccine or seek any profit from it in order to maximize its global distribution after its successful development in 1955. By 1959, his vaccine had reached around 90 countries. Less than 25 years later, domestic transmission of polio had been completely eliminated in the United States.
Clearly this is a timely story with quite obvious connections to our current world, and it will be great to see a film that celebrates not only science, but also a selfless man looking to help humanity as opposed to his own wallet.
Levy and Levine said in a statement: “We can’t think of a more timely story to tell – of one man’s journey to save the world from a devastating pandemic while overcoming misinformation from the media, and how he believed so much in the vaccine that he tested it on himself and his children to prove to the world that it was safe”.
There’s currently no director attached to the project, nor is there a release date in place. But it’s easy to imagine BRON and 21 Laps fast-tracking the movie into production considering its cultural relevance.
Strong has been busy over the last few years thanks to his role on Succession and supporting roles in films such as The Trial Of The Chicago 7 and The Gentlemen. Succession season 3 is currently in the works.