‘Radioactive’ Director Marjane Satrapi on the Challenges of Telling Marie Curie’s Amazing Story in Two Hours

     August 9, 2020


When you think about what visionary Polish physicist and chemist Marie Curie accomplished during her extraordinary life, it’s impossible not to be impressed. Not only did she (with her husband Pierre) discover the elements Radium and Polonium, coin the term “radioactivity” to describe the emission of uranic rays, and become the first woman to ever win a Nobel Prize and hold a professorship at the Sorbonne, she did it well over a hundred years ago when it was even harder for a woman to enter the field of science. In addition, her work in the field of x-rays led to a second Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1911 and helped saved numerous lives during World War I thanks to ambulances with x-ray equipment.


Image via Amazon Studios

With all the she accomplished, it makes sense that her life has been portrayed on TV and the movies many times. In director Marjane Satrapi’s Radioactive, which is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video, Rosamund Pike stars as Curie and the film does a great job highlighting the key moments in her life and showing how hard Marie and Pierre Curie (Sam Riley) had to work to change the face of science forever. Radioactive also stars Aneurin Barnard, Simon Russell Beale, Katherine Parkinson, Sian Brooke, and Anya Taylor-Joy. The screenplay is by Jack Thorne and based on the book by Lauren Redniss.

Earlier this year, before the pandemic struck the planet, I sat down with Marjane Satrapi in Paris to talk about the film. She revealed the challenges of trying to tell Curie’s story in two hours, why she’d love to always reshoot the first two days of filming, the wide variety of emotions you’ll feel while editing and why, what it’s like trying to schedule a production, and more. Plus, she talks about casting Ryan Reynolds in her film The Voices before he was Deadpool.

Check out what Marjane Satrapi had to say in the player below and further down the page is exactly what we talked about followed by the official synopsis.


Image via Amazon Studios

Marjane Satrapi:

  • How she cast Ryan Reynolds in The Voices before Deadpool.
  • Why did she want to make Radioactive?
  • How tough was it to get the financing?
  • The challenges of trying to tell Marie Curie’s story in two hours.
  • How does scheduling work in terms of what you will film and when?
  • Why she wishes she could always reshoot the first two days of filming.
  • What was her reaction when she first saw the footage in the editing room?
  • Why her editor is her best friend.
  • What is she working on now?

Image via Amazon Studios

Here’s the official synopsis for Radioactive:

RADIOACTIVE is a journey through Marie Curie’s (Rosamund Pike) enduring legacy from the 1870s through to modern day – her passionate partnerships, scientific breakthroughs, and the consequences that followed.


In late 19th century Paris, Marie met fellow scientist Pierre Curie (Sam Riley). The pair went on to marry, raise two daughters and change the face of science forever with their discovery of radioactivity. In 1903, they jointly won the Nobel Prize in physics for their discovery, making Marie the first woman to win the esteemed prize.


After the death of her beloved Pierre, Marie’s commitment to science remained unwavering and her work went on to win her a second Nobel Prize, taking with it the responsibility for discoveries which changed the world. This bold depiction of the legacy of her extraordinary life explores the transformative effects and ensuing fallout of the Curies’ work and its impact on the

Latest News