Only in Hollywood can New Orleans stand in for Los Angeles while a suave crooner portrays a serious scientist.
In the upcoming film “Living Proof,” Dennis Slamon, MD, PhD, will be played by Harry Connick, Jr. Dr. Slamon, of course, is the driving force behind the development of trastuzumab (Herceptin); Connick is best known for his Southern charm as a singer and actor.
“Living Proof,” will air in October on the Lifetime TV network. The movie is based on the 1998 book HER-2: The Making of Herceptin, by Robert Bazell, a medical correspondent for NBC. According to Connick’s website, the actor conveys Dr. Slamon’s “relentless battle to keep the drug trials afloat and save the lives of thousands of women.”
The movie was executive produced by Renee Zellweger, whose publicist, Nanci Ryder, was a patient of Dr. Slamon. Angie Harmon portrays philanthropist Lily Tartikoff, who helped fund the Herceptin research.
The movie was shot in New Orleans at the behest of Mr. Connick, who has spearheaded post-Hurricane Katrina efforts to revive his hometown.
“Living Proof” will be the centerpiece of Lifetime’s annual public awareness campaign, “Stop Breast Cancer for Life.”
Dr. Slamon, who continues to serve as chief of the Oncology Treatment Center at UCLA, seems to be keeping mum on the deal. Aside from some praise for Bazell’s book (“It’s very good”), he had one comment for ONI: “I don’t know why anyone would want to make a movie about me!”