#100: “Gosnell” Screenwriter Speaks—Andrew Klavan

#100: “Gosnell” Screenwriter Speaks—Andrew Klavan


It’s a curious fact that a movie that is literally not about abortion would be so effective as a pro-life story. Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer has caused a media splash by portraying the media in the film as too chicken to cover the trial of Kermit Gosnell, the Philadelphia abortionist who was ultimately convicted of multiple counts of murder.

By “media” I mean largely social media, and word of mouth. Stories roll in from across the country of theater owners playing games with show times (this happened to me in Southern California), seemingly suggesting that moviegoers not watch it, despite high viewer rating (Google users rate it at 97%) and the fact that it opened against much bigger budgeted films.

Scribe Andrew Klavan (crime writer, and screenwriter of Don’t Say a Word and True Crimes, directed by Clint Eastwood) describes how the harrowing subject matter got translated to the big screen, and how husband-wife producer team Phelim McAleer and Ann McElhinney faced on uphill battle after another. And still so, in terms of fighting those forces that want this movie to die.

I can sort of see why. I just read of two moral conversions by influencers with large audiences who walked into the theater as pro-choice and walked out as pro-life. One is Florida political blogger Kathy Zhu. The other is Federalist writer Adam Mill.This is not a preachy movie, as Klavan makes clear–and as any objective viewer will conclude.

Gosnell is a rare blend of Christian premise, serious writing chops, and a CSI-like narrative of the facts as they are, able directed by Nick Searcy (who also plays Gosnell’s attorney Mike Cohan).


In this episode you will learn:

  • How a movie is made, from concept to final story
  • Why Gosnell, a movie not about abortion per se, yet grabs the viewer by the lapel and forces him to answer certain questions about life, death, and the law
  • The level of opposition faced by the filmmakers, from the beginning
  • Behind-the-scenes stories about the crafting and filming of Gosnell
  • How Klavan drew upon his crime novel skills to bring this real-life trial to life


Resources recommended in this episode:

Question of the week

Why do you think conservatives make so few high quality movies that reflect their essential worldview?


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