By Joan Ross Sorkin
Spectator Bird, adapted from the novel by Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Wallace Stegner and set in 1960 in post-war Denmark, addresses the modern issue of genetic engineering through the lens of a love story between Astrid Von Jaeger, an enchanting Danish countess, and Joe Allston, a quiet, unpretentious American literary agent who, shaken by his grown son’s possible suicide, travels to Denmark with his wife Ruth in search of his Danish roots. Joe and Ruth are boarders in Astrid’s Copenhagen home, and Joe becomes captivated by the countess, turning his journey into a personal odyssey to unlock the secrets of Astrid’s mysterious past. On their visit to her family’s country estate Joe begins to untangle a web of double-suicide, Nazi collaboration, and a scandalous experiment in human genetics that touches his own family’s history, and ultimately, he must choose between his passion for the countess and the safety of his devoted wife.
Screenplay: Finalist, Westchester Film Festival (2001)