Focusing on the theme of toxic chemicals in everyday cosmetics and the unregulated nature of the hugely profitable cosmetics industry in the United States, a film based on 'Pretty Ugly' novel couldn’t be more timely.
Two leading US Senators both women, members of opposing parties - Dianne Feinstein (Democrat) of California and Susan Collins (Republican) of Maine - are now attempting to push through a bill across the aisle regulating the powerful and rich cosmetics industry.
What physical horrors can rogue nanoparticles, a thousandth time smaller than a human cell and contained within a simple cosmetic, create when they flood through the human body?
Facing the terrible truth, an unlikely trio – Colm, an investigative journalist, Dr. Gray, a skin specialist and Patricia, a celebrity model - embark on a dangerous mission against a rich and powerful corporation hellbent on stopping them from telling the truth.
If they move fast enough, they can save lives. If they don’t …
In terms of locations, 'Pretty Ugly' links New York (the corporate world), Washington DC (the political world) and Kansas City (the world of struggling regional newspapers) with the awe-inspiring, windswept beauty of northwestern Ireland, right on the Wild Atlantic Way
In embracing the three 'Cs' of celebrity, cosmetics and Celtic mythology (or, alternatively, the three 'Ms' of medicine, media and modelling), 'Pretty Ugly' by Sean Hillen confronts two key issues of our time - the decline of traditional media in face of the all-reaching Internet and the dangers associated with the ever-expanding and largely unregulated use of nano-technology in everyday cosmetics.
Her brilliant modeling career is over, she just put a friend in a coma and she's living proof of a mega cosmetics company cover-up. Oh, and an investigative journalist is trying to find her, cos she's a hot story. Where should she go? On the coolest place on earth, of course... a place know as 'The Forgotten Land.' A remote corner of rural Ireland in the far northwest.
Sensing a national exclusive after an encounter with consumer advocate and skin specialist, Colm Heaney, an impassioned medical reporter on a US daily newspaper, embarks on a strange quest to an isolated region of Ireland riddled with legend and myth where people cut peat for winter fires, play fiddle music until they enter trances and believe wholeheartedly in faeries, Colm heads there in search of Patricia Roberts, a former Miss America in hiding after a bizarre accident linked to cosmetics left her severely scarred, both mentally and physically, and a close friend in a coma.
After discovering that the beauty queen is involved in a medical experiment using the most ancient of skin rejuvenation remedies - simple bog peat - Colm then finds himself involved in a major investigation that reveals corruption at the highest levels of American society, with high-ranking figures in both the corporate and political worlds facing off and willing to risk the lives of others to protect their exalted positions and principles.
While the mission before them is clear as is the enemy who will stop at nothing to stop them, including herding the paparazzi in their direction, Colm, Patricia and Dr. Gray also face phantoms from their own past, with redemption seemingly beyond reach.
Colm is an emigrant from war-torn Belfast, where a tragic incident involving an explosion killed the love of his life one and left him guilt-ridden and emotionally fragile.
Patricia has journeyed traumatically from the high-life of canapes and champagne in Manhattan and Milan and other glittering fashion centers to the low-lying bogs of Ireland, amidst tabloid accusations of threatening the life of her closest friend and confidant.
Haunted by thoughts that his medical skills could have saved his teenage daughter, Dr. Gray also faces accusations of cloaking a personal vendetta in the guise of a public health crusade.
Can all three find peace of mind in the pursuit of justice amidst the clamor for ever-more lucrative profits and high political ambition? In such grim circumstances, perhaps an inspiring touch of Old World magic from Ireland's ancient Celtic Druidic past is exactly what's required, the perfect tonic.
Having been a victim of an untested cosmetic product which leads to a fatal accident, Patricia, a former model hides away in a secluded village in the most remote part of Ireland.
Belfast-born emigrant reporter, Colm, is on her trace trying to lift the veil of secrecy on the powerful cosmetics company intent on concealing the health hazards from toxic ingredients in one of its key products. Ironically, the greatest risk is contained inside an ordinary concealer, - nanoparticles so tiny they infiltrate nerve and blood cells causing untold damage.
Consumer activist and skin specialist, Doctor Gray, is the background puppeteer, determined to bring the issue before the most powerful lawmakers on Capitol Hill.
Kansas City based, Richard Browne, CEO of a national media group facing mounting financial problems, is faced with a moral dilemma as circulation of his newspapers tumbles out of control and a rich and powerful cosmetics company offers him what seems like the perfect solution, bit turns out to be exactly the opposite.
Political rivals, Senator Edward Clarke (based on Edward Kennedy) and Senator Joe Barden are locked in battle, aware that a proposed Bill regulating the cosmetics industry might just be the next tobacco saga.
One of the highlights of this proposed film project is the opportunity to shoot in unique, inspiring locations in the Irish Northwest, an area known as the ‘Forgotten Land, Gaoth Dobhair, (Gweedore in English) on the famous ‘Wild Atlantic Way,’ as well as locations in the US cities of New York, Washington and Kansas City.
Gaoth Dobhair, ‘the place of the wind’ is part of 'An Gaeltacht,' a specially-designated Irish-speaking area. Within it, Cnoc Fola, (Bloody Foreland - ‘the Hill of Blood’) might suggest the site of an ancient Celtic battle but actually takes its name from the way the setting sun enhances the natural red hues of nearby granite cliffs, as seen from ferryboats crossing the offshore islands of Tory and Gola.
Ireland has a long tradition of financial and tax incentives for national and international film production companies.