Silent Spring: The Book
“If you think of this quiet Woman as a revolutionary it’s rather startling, but in the way she changed our thinking, Rachel Carson was a revolutionary.” - Stuart Udall, Secretary of the Interior under Kennedy
Rachel Carson is recognized around the World as the mother of the modern environmental movement.
Silent Spring of Rachel Carson tells the awe-inspiring journey of the 50 year old Rachel Carson: an extremely-introverted, intensely-private Biologist, renowned writer of Sea books, Nature lover and mother to an adopted 4 year old grandnephew.
From the beginnings of Silent Spring, Rachel Carson knew the multi-billion dollar Chemical Industry would attack her, that the life she loved would be changed forever. But she bravely began her research and writing because “Everything I loved was threatened, there would be no peace for me if I keep silent.”
For the next four years, Rachel Carson overcame the most overwhelming obstacles to write and publish her revolutionary book, working during a time women scientists were rare and often not respected. She was unmercifully attacked by the Chemical Industry and numerous Departments of the U.S. Government as an unreasonable, emotional, fear-provoking, hysterical woman. They called her a communist, subject to “sinister influences,” and pressured her publisher to drop her book. But Silent Spring was published, read by millions, and changed our view of Man’s relationship with Nature.
The once-shy Rachel Carson became a fearless fighter and national figure with her defense of Silent Spring which expanded into a very-noisy national debate regarding the conflict of attitudes toward Man’s role in his Environment and his attempts to control and manipulate Nature.
The debate raged on the front pages of the New York Times, during JFK’s Presidential press conferences, in multitudes of magazines, prime-time Television and even in “Peanuts” cartoons. The final battle was fought on CBS Reports where the calm, gentle, soft-spoken Rachel Carson squared off against Dr. Robert White-Stevens, the loud, arrogant, extremely-intimidating representative of the Chemical Industry who had been leading the year-long campaign against Silent Spring and Rachel Carson. White-Stevens’ final salvo was his supremely-confident claim that “Man is steadily controlling Nature.” Rachel Carson’s most-serene, sincere response ended with:
“…We still talk in terms of conquest when we need to be mature enough, to think of ourselves as only a very tiny part of this Planet and our vast and incredible Universe. Now I truly believe that we must come to terms with Nature. And I think we are challenged, as Mankind has never been challenged before, to prove our maturity not by attempting to control Nature, but by controlling ourselves.”
With her success on CBS Reports, the tide had turned. Kennedy’s Presidential Science Committee vindicated Rachel Carson and Silent Spring. Senate Hearings were held for the first time to address environmental issues. Her testimony laid the foundation for the formation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and sweeping environmental laws for clean air, water and management of pesticides and hazardous waste.
But Rachel Carson lost her final battle 9 months later. She died of the debilitating Breast Cancer she bravely fought for the five years she was writing and defending Silent Spring.
“I used to believe that much of Nature was forever beyond the tampering reach of Man. He might level the forest and dam the streams, but the clouds, the rain, the wind and the Oceans were God’s.
But then my eyes and my mind were opened to the Truth as it now appears to be and that was the Book I began to write - about the power Man now had to change the World and my hope that, as he takes on this new role, Man does so with humility rather than arrogance.” Rachel Carson 1958
In the 21st Century, Rachel Carson continues to be attacked by right-wing Conservatives misrepresenting her message. With the latest, most onerous environmental threats from Climate Change (which Rachel Carson warned about in 1962) and the Gulf Oil Spill, her pleas for humility rather than arrogance are now more relevant than ever.
-Jimmy Carter awarding Rachel Carson
the Presidential Medal of Honor.
The Silent Spring of Rachel Carson has been developed with film rights secured from Frances Collin, Literary Agent and Trustee for the Estate of Rachel Carson.
Before Silent Spring was published in 1962:
Our air was a dumping ground for chemical refuse. Towering smoke stakes belched out black smoke covering our cities with a thick layer of smog. It caused more than just burning nostrils and bronchial distress. Over 4000 people died in London in 1952 during a four-day period from the worst of many “killer smog” events.
Before Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring:
Our waters were being polluted by the untreated discharge of industrial waste. Chemicals and oils floating on rivers caught on fire. Massive fish kills were common occurrences, lining river banks with millions of dead fish for hundreds of miles.
Chemicals from buried drums, unlined ponds and leaking underground tanks contaminated vast groundwater resources used for public drinking supplies.
Before Silent Spring:
Citizens were bombarded by aerial spraying of DDT. More massive clouds of pesticides billowed out of spray trucks heading slowly down residential streets where neighborhood kids competed to see who could stay in the toxic clouds the longest.
DDT reduced the 500,000 Bald Eagles in the United States down to 417 nesting pairs and eliminated the Brown Pelican from the entire coast of Louisiana - their state bird. Both species were well on their way to extinction because the DDT thinned their eggs to the point they broke against the parents’ weight.
Before Rachel Carson:
Pollution (and the rapidly increasing cancer rate) was considered the price of progress.
ABOUT CHARTOFF-SILENT SPRING, LLC
Silent Spring of Rachel Carson is being developed under Chartoff-Silent Spring, LLC by Robert Chartoff and Lynn Hendee.
Robert Chartoff co-produced two of the films on AFI’s top 100 films of the last 100 years: Raging Bull and Rocky. AFI also ranks these films as the two best sports films of all time. Mr. Chartoff shared the Best Picture Oscar for Rocky and was nominated for Raging Bull and The Right Stuff. Among his dozens of films, he co-produced such classics as They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?, Point Blank, The Gambler, and New York, New York.
Although he is one of the highest grossing producers of all time, it is equally important to Chartoff that his films reflect issues of social and cultural significance. Among his many philanthropic activities, Robert has a lifelong passion for the protection and nurturing of children. In 1990, he founded and continues to fund the Jenifer School in Bodh Gaya, India, educating hundreds of disadvantaged children who were once known as “untouchables.”
Lynn Hendee is the President of Chartoff Productions and holds a Masters in Fine Arts from the University of Southern California’s Peter Stark Motion Picture Producing Program, where she was also an adjunct professor of Filmic Writing. She is a member of the Producers Guild of America and Women in Film.
Hendee and Chartoff produced the John Boorman directed film In My Country, starring Juliette Binoche and Samuel L. Jackson. The film received the Diamond Cinema for Peace Award at the Berlin Film Festival, as well as the Common Ground Award for Film, in honor of its depiction of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa. Upon viewing the film, Nelson Mandela thanked the filmmakers for their “gift to the South African people.”
Hendee and Chartoff produced Julie Taymor’s The Tempest starring Helen Mirren, Chris Cooper and Felicity Jones. The Tempest was honored as the Closing Night film of the Venice Film Festival and as the Centerpiece Selection of the New York Film Festival. It received an Oscar nomination for Costume Design.
Hendee and Chartoff are also currently developing Julie Taymor’s next film, The Transposed Heads, based upon the Thomas Mann novel; The Day They Stole the Mona Lisa, a true story about the most famous painting in the world; and Weegee, a Broadway musical based on the life and work of the famed photographer.
Hendee and Chartoff are co-producers of Ender’s Game, having worked with Orson Scott Card to bring his bestselling book to screen.
After a long search to find the right filmmaker to tell Rachel Carson’s inspiring story, Chartoff-Spring LLC Productions is proud to announce that writer-director Peter Bratt will helm Silent Spring of Rachel Carson.
Bratt, whose previous two films premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, is a filmmaker who is drawn to compelling stories that marry entertainment with social justice issues. With his experience working with indigenous communities fighting for environmental justice, Bratt was particularly drawn to the reverence that Carson had for the natural world. “Rachel Carson’s prophetic work in many ways echoes the same message that Native people have been trying to share with the Western world for more than 500 years: ‘What we do to the Mother Earth, we do to ourselves” stated Bratt.
Bratt’s first film Follow Me Home was in official competition at the 1996 Sundance Film Festival and opened audiences’ eyes with its honest look at the social issues faced by five urban individuals as they travel across the United States to Washington, D.C. Critically acclaimed by the National Board of Review, Follow Me Home left a long lasting impression on the cultural scholars of our Nation, including novelist Alice Walker, June Jordan, and Angela Davis. It also resulted in Bratt being honored with a Rockefeller Foundation Film Fellowship. His exploration of the journey to redemption and the ultimate reach toward conquering societal ills is a thematic echo further examined in his sophomore effort, La MISSION.
At once a meditation on non-violence as well as a love letter to San Francisco’s Mission District, La MISSION is a story of community, family and one man’s redemptive journey to unlearn a lifetime of destructive habits when a secret brings him into conflict with his beloved son. La MISSION premiered at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival and earned Bratt the prestigious 2010 Estella Award – an honor bestowed by the National Association of Latino Independent Producers to filmmakers “whose achievements reveal leadership, creativity and tenacity, as well as vision and passion for their craft.”
For La MISSION, Bratt also received Imagen’s 2010 Norman Lear Writer’s Award given annually to Latino talent that has excelled creatively and dispelled negative stereotypes and perceptions of the Latino community in feature films and television. Now in its 25th year, the Imagen Awards are considered one of the most prestigious awards of its kind in the entertainment industry and have been described as “the Golden Globes of the Latino community.”
La MISSION was released in theaters Spring 2010 to strong reviews (view website).
Bratt and his family have a long history of activism in the Native American community. Along with his mother and siblings, Bratt participated in the American Indian occupation of Alcatraz Island in 1969, an event that brought the world's attention to the plight of Native Americans in the United States. Bratt serves on the advisory board of Amazon Watch, a non-profit organization that works to protect the rainforest and advance the rights of indigenous people everywhere.
Bratt is also a founding member of Wicahpi Koyaka Tiospaye (Wears the Star Lodge), a non-profit established to nurture, cultivate and reinforce Native American spiritual values and traditions -- values and traditions that, like Rachel Carson, cultivate a deep love and respect for the non-human world.
G.L. Brice and Dave Hunsaker
“Write only what you sincerely feel and believe. Immerse yourself so completely in your subject that you the writer, become the medium through which the truth is expressed.”
- Rachel Carson
The writer of the screenplay Silent Spring of Rachel Carson has been “completely immersed” in all things Rachel Carson for a very long time. G.L. Brice is first and foremost a Biologist. She has a Masters Degree in Zoology, the same advanced degree held by Rachel Carson.
Besides her writing contribution to the project, Ms. Brice also serves as a Producer, the Rachel Carson/scientific expert and has the lead in the community outreach efforts to the environmental community (she produced the Silent Spring of Rachel Carson video and developed this website and other social marketing efforts).
G.L. Brice’s 25 year professional career in environmental protection and remediation was built on the foundation laid by Rachel Carson that resulted in the formation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and sweeping environmental laws for clean air, water and management of pesticides and hazardous waste.
Ms. Brice’s environmental protection work includes: Compliance programs for large industrial manufacturers to minimize the impact of their waste on the environment and remediating contaminated properties and serving on the management team of a state-of-the-art recycling company.
G.L. Brice studied screenwriting at UCLA with the goal of telling stories about Women heroes. One of hers had always been the author of Silent Spring, Rachel Carson. To tell her story, Ms. Brice immersed herself in her subject:
|She read all of Rachel Carson’s books including Silent Spring many times over.|
|She spent weeks in the Rachel Carson Archives at Yale University going through the 117 boxes that included the original yellow tablets with handwritten first drafts of Silent Spring. She read hundreds of Rachel Carson’s most-personal letters. She shipped copies of thousands of pages back to her office in California.|
|She visited Rachel Carson’s cabin in Maine, explored her favorite tide pools, searched for birds in her beloved woods. Quietly sat for hours at the exact spot where Rachel Carson’s ashes were released to the Sea.|
|She read Rachel Carson’s favorite books and listened to her favorite symphonies.|
|She studied the masses of material blasting Rachel Carson during the Silent Spring debates and controversy. She sat amazed reading the stirring speeches written and delivered by a terminally-ill Rachel to defend her book. She read the CBS Reports transcripts where the tide against her would turn.|
And then Ms. Brice began the difficult task to write Silent Spring of Rachel Carson, a screenplay with a sweeping, complicated story about a quiet, retiring Woman – the most unlikely of heroes.
Her screenplay was optioned and greatly improved through the development process with Robert Chartoff and Lynn Hendee including adding Dave Hunsaker to the writing team. Dave Hunsaker is an Alaskan screenwriter and playwright based in Juneau, Alaska, and Venice, California. As a screenwriter, he has written for directors Robert Redford, Norman Jewison, Julie Taymor, Stanley Donen, Carroll Ballard, Arthur Hiller, Guillermo del Toro, Mel Gibson, John McTiernan, and Roger Donaldson, among others. He has written for Fox 2000, Fox Searchlight, Warner Bros, Disney, and HBO.
He is a recipient of the Alaska Governor’s Award for the Arts and a Fellowship for the Arts in New York. He is a Fellow of the Sundance Institute, a member of the Writers Guild of America and is an adopted member of the Lukaaxadi Clan of the Tlingit Nation.
Dave Hunsaker’s connection with the natural world that Rachel Carson was trying to protect includes his residence in Alaska with a bald eagle’s nest in his front yard, one of the many species that would now be extinct if it weren’t for Silent Spring.”
yields a new thought with every petal.
The hours when the mind is absorbed by beauty
are the only hours when we really live.
All else is illusion, or mere endurance”
- Richards Jeffries
“These few lines so impressed themselves on my mind that I have never forgotten them. They have become a statement of creed I have lived by, for a preoccupation with the Earth has strongly influenced the course of my life.” Rachel Carson 1954
Silent Spring of Rachel Carson focuses on the years between 1958 and 1963 when Rachel Carson wrote and defended Silent Spring and laid the groundwork for the modern environmental movement. (See “Project” section of this website.) But her deep, spiritual connection with Nature and her role as caretaker started long before.
Before Silent Spring
Rachel Carson grew up simply in the rural river town of Springdale, Pennsylvania. Her free time was spent roaming the woods above the Allegheny River with her mother, learning the names of the wildflowers and listening to the dawn chorus of bird songs. She’d always thought she’d be a writer but her love of Biology took her from Chatham College, to an MS in Zoology from Johns Hopkins University in 1932.
Rachel wanted to study for her Ph.D. but her father and sister died, leaving her mother and two school-aged nieces to support. She was hired by the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries to write radio scripts during the Depression and supplemented her income writing feature articles on natural history for the Baltimore Sun and the Atlantic Monthly. Her 15-year career in the federal service continued as a scientist and editor, rising to become Editor-in-Chief of all publications for the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Her first and favorite book Under the Sea-Wind was a poetic and surprisingly suspenseful account of a year in the lives of dozens of ocean creatures. She wrote it during stolen moments between family commitments to her adopted nieces, working late into most nights and weekends. It was published in 1941 to “supreme indifference” per Rachel, arriving on the bookstores the day after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.
Rachel Carson channeled her energy into supporting the war effort. Her assignments as a Marine Biologist and Oceanographer at U.S. Fish and Wildlife ranged from writing articles trying to convince civilians to eat more fish (and save the beef for our troops), to participating on a secret committee to plot the tide charts for the D-Day invasion.
When the War ended, she turned her government research into her second book The Sea Around Us. A rigorous scientist and researcher, Rachel Carson was also blessed with a remarkable writer's ear which allowed her to express the secrets of Nature in lyrical, mesmerizing prose. “If there is poetry in my book about the Sea, it is not because I deliberately put it there, but because no one could write truthfully about the Sea and leave out the poetry.”
Her natural history of the Oceans won the 1952 National Book Award, was translated into over 30 languages and remained on the best seller list for 86 weeks. The documentary based on the The Sea Around Us won the Academy Award. Rachel Carson was surprised as anyone that her book about the vast and timeless Ocean was so widely read. She found clues why in the thousands of letters received from around the World.
“Such letters make me wonder if we have too long been looking through the wrong end of the telescope. We have looked first at Man and his vanities and greed and at his problems of a day or a year; and then only looked outward at the Earth and at the Universe of which the Earth is so minute a part. Yet these are the great realities and against them we see our human problems in a new perspective. Perhaps if we reversed the telescope and look at Man down these long vistas, we should find less time and inclination to plan for our own destruction.”
The success of the The Sea Around Us allowed Rachel Carson to embrace her naturally reserved, quiet, very private personality. She built a cabin above her beloved tide pools in Maine and a home on a large wooded lot in Maryland. She retired from government service to devote herself to her writing. Under the Sea-Wind, republished in 1953, now became an instant best seller along with her new The Edge of Sea that followed in 1955.
Her family commitments continued with the now-constant care needed by her elderly mother and the death of her adopted niece. At age 50, Rachel Carson became a mother again when she adopted her 5 year old grandnephew Roger.
Her magazine article "Help Your Child to Wonder" published in 1956 described the intimate adventures she shared with Roger exploring the rocky coast of Maine, its dense forests and open fields, observing wildlife, mysterious plants, crashing surf, moonlight and storm clouds and listening to the “living music” of insects in the underbrush.
By 1957, Rachel Carson was expanding the article into a book, hoping it would inspire adults and children alike to experience the sensory and emotional connection with the living world and have less tolerance for Man’s activities threatening her beloved Nature.
She would set it aside when overwhelming events led her spend the next five years writing and defending Silent Spring. She returned to it in 1963, “I want very much to finish the Wonder book, that would be Heaven to achieve.”
Rachel Carson died of breast cancer a few months later. Her literary agent and close friend Marie Rodell later published an expanded version of the magazine article as A Sense of Wonder with the lush Nature photographs that had been imagined by Rachel.
All who knew Rachel Carson agreed that reading this short and most lovely book is the best way to understand the spirit of this reserved, very private woman.
From the final pages of A Sense of Wonder:
|“What is the value of preserving and strengthening this sense of awe and wonder, this recognition of something beyond the boundaries of human existence? Is the exploration of the natural world just a pleasant way to pass the golden hours of childhood or is there something deeper?|
I am sure there is something more lasting and significant. Those who dwell among the beauties and mysteries of the Earth are never alone or weary of life. Whatever the vexations or concerns of their personal lives, their thoughts can find paths that lead to inner contentment and to renewed excitement in living.
Those who contemplate the beauty of the Earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is symbolic as well as actual beauty in the migration of the birds, the ebb and flow of the tides, the folded bud ready for the Spring.
There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of Nature – the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter. . . What will sustain me in my final moments is an infinite curiosity as to what wonders will follow.” - Rachel Carson
Casting Wish List
The following Silent Spring of Rachel Carson casting wish list is drawn from an extensive list of Actors committed to environmental causes and the protection of the Planet that has been developed by the project Producers. Beyond the primary and supporting roles, A-list environmentally-conscious Actors will also be sought after for cameo roles to support and promote this important project.
Note: The following is provided as a “wish list only” of “target actors” who will be asked to participate in the project when the final script and funding is in place but no commitments have been received at this time.
The Academy-award winning Actresses Meryl Streep and Sandra Bullock and twice-nominated Annette Bening have all expressed interest in the role of Rachel Carson and have read earlier versions of the screenplay. All are avid environmentalists. (See “Project,” “Rachel Carson” and the attached DRAFT Silent Spring of Rachel Carson screenplay for more information on the film roles and characters.)
Rachel Carson, 49, a serene, delicately-pretty Lady, surrounded by the lightness of one living their authentic life.
Robert White-Stevens, Ph.D. 35, British, black hair Brylcreamed back, horn-rimmed glasses and a pencil-thin moustache. The loud, arrogant, quite-scary Chemical Industry representative led the unmercifully-brutal campaign against and calm, gentle and soft-spoken Rachel Carson, passionately believing that “Man must control Nature” and that he is the hero of this story.
|Clive Owen||Jude Law||Ralph Fiennes||Jonathan Rhys-Meyers|
Marie Rodell, 37, Rachel Carson’s vivacious, very funny and fearless literary Agent. A Vassar graduate, MENSA member and poker playing partner of both Presidents Truman and Eisenhower.
Ultra-feminine, Marie has upswept hair, false eyelashes and form-fitting dresses requiring military-strength undergarments. Although very different from the other, Rachel and Marie greatly respect and love the other like dear sisters.
|Jennifer Garner||Rachel McAdams||Sarah Silverman|
Mrs. Carson, 80, Rachel’s feisty, funny, quite-pushy Mamma who becomes committed to her cause (but passes on early in Act 2)
|Could a small role as Rachel Carson's
mother entice animal activist Doris Day,
now 86, out of retirement?
|Betty White - Another huge
supporter of animal rights
Another Cameo Idea
E.B. White, 54, a lovely Man with a receding hairline and a toothbrush moustache. He wears a bow-tie, looking dapper as his creation “Stuart Little” the brave mouse.
A literary friend of Rachel Carson, who had published essays against pollution. She tried to get him to write the book that would become Silent Spring. Instead, he encouraged her and was a huge fan of the completed book.”Whenever the Thrush sings in the Woods, I will think of you and give thanks.” E.B. White
|E.B. White||Tom Hanks - Major History Buff
More Cameo Ideas
Partial list of Actors who are actively involved in a wide range of environmental causes:
|Ben Affleck||Jessica Alba|
|Drew Barrymore||Ed Begley Jr.|
|Orlando Bloom||Ted Danson|
|Cameron Diaz||Leonardo DiCaprio|
|James Gandofini||Ryan Gosling|
|Adrian Grenier||Woody Harrelson|
|Mandy Moore||Edward Norton|
|Gwyneth Paltrow||Hayden Panettiere|
|Brad Pitt||Natalie Portman|
|Keri Russell||Alicia Silverstone|
|Keifer Sutherland||Justin Timberlake|
George Clooney will be asked to reprise his role as Fred Friendly, CBS News Executive Producer that he played in “Good Night and Good Luck.”
Chartoff Productions (as Chartoff-Spring LLC) has recently raised the final $50,000 to fund late-stage development activities prior to the production of the Silent Spring of Rachel Carson.
These funds were used to renew the film rights’ option with the literary estate of Rachel Carson. The funds were also used to pay Writer’s Guild minimums to Peter Bratt for his rewrite efforts to develop a more character-focused screenplay that reflects his vision to move forward.
The projected production budget for Silent Spring of Rachel Carson is $5 million with a minimum investment of $50,000. Deal terms and memos are presently being developed by Chartoff-Spring LLC. However, due to extensive interest in this important project, Chartoff-Spring LLC is maintaining a priority list of parties interested in being notified when the production funding effort is initiated in the Summer of 2010.
To be added to this list, please see Contact Information in this package.
Investors should be aware that there is an inherent risk associated with investing in film projects. However the risk associated with investing in the Silent Spring of Rachel Carson is reduced based on the following:
|The extensive experience of the production team in creating compelling and commercially- successful film projects|
|The quality and environmental theme of the project|
|The relative low cost to produce the film|
|The interest of talent to be attached to the project including filmmaker Peter Bratt and Annette Bening to star as Rachel Carson. Chartoff-Spring LLC anticipates that numerous environmentally-conscious A-list actors will be interested in cameos in the film to promote their environmental agendas|
|The extensive opportunity for grass-roots marketing efforts to promote the film|
For more information about this important film project,