Brad Pitt’s ‘Dr. Q’ Tells the Real-Life Tale of an Illegal Immigrant-Turned-Neurosurgeon

     March 1, 2016

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Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa’s journey began in Mexico, continued into America via an illegal border crossing, and ended up at Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins Hospital where the neurosurgeon now known as “Dr. Q” is the director of multiple prestigious programs. It’s a success story that’s as improbable as it is traditionally “American” and it comes at a pivotal time in our nation’s history. That’s Brad Pitt’s take on it anyway since the Oscar-winning producer is developing a movie based on Quiñones-Hinojosa’s life through his Plan B banner, along with Disney.

THR reports that Pitt, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner, who have been working on the project since 2007, have tapped Matthew Lopez to write the script about Quiñones-Hinojosa, once an illegal Mexican immigrant who’s now the Director of the Brain Tumor Surgery Center at Johns Hopkins (and U.S. citizen, obviously). Interest in the project came about in the simplest of ways when executives heard Dr. Q’s story on a radio program. There’s plenty more to discover about Dr. Q now, however, thanks to his website and American Dream-styled autobiography, “Becoming Dr. Q.”


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Image via Amazon

Born outside Mexicali, Mexico, Quinones-Hinojosa was the oldest of five children in his family. His academic career began at the Escuela Normal Urbana Federal Fronteriza in Mexicali, but he soon crossed into the United States illegally in 1987 when he was 19 and began working on farms near Fresno, California in order to earn enough money to afford English lessons. From there, he attended San Joaquin Delta College and completed his bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of California, Berkeley with the school’s highest honors. He then earned his medical degree from Harvard Medical School with honors and became a U.S. citizen.

Here’s a look at Dr. Q’s autobiography synopsis (via Amazon):

Today he is known as Dr. Q, an internationally renowned neurosurgeon and neuroscientist who leads cutting-edge research to cure brain cancer. But not too long ago, he was Freddy, a nineteen-year-old undocumented migrant worker toiling in the tomato fields of central California. In this gripping memoir, Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa tells his amazing life story—from his impoverished childhood in the tiny village of Palaco, Mexico, to his harrowing border crossing and his transformation from illegal immigrant to American citizen and gifted student at the University of California at Berkeley and at Harvard Medical School. Packed with adventure and adversity—including a few terrifying brushes with death—Becoming Dr. Q is a testament to persistence, hard work, the power of hope and imagination, and the pursuit of excellence. It’s also a story about the importance of family, of mentors, and of giving people a chance.


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