Octavia Spencer has joined “Right to Try,” a documentary short about an HIV cure treatment trial, as a producer through her production company Orit Entertainment. Spencer will produce along with her partner Brian Clisham and creative executive Stephanie Kluft.
The doc, directed by “The Late Late Show With James Corden” producer Zeberiah Newman, tells the story of casting director Jeffrey Drew’s participation in an experimental trial for an HIV cure.
The team, which also includes Andrew Carlberg, producer of the Oscar-winning short “Skin,” is hoping to find a distributor in time to release the film on Dec. 1 to mark the 40th anniversary of World AIDS Day.
“The sacrifices and the potential sacrifices that Jeffrey made in an effort to cure HIV, which 38 million people worldwide are battling, is a heroic journey that everyone should know about,” Clisham tells Variety.
Clisham says he and Spencer reached out to Newman after first reading about the doc last month in “Just for Variety.”
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Drew was diagnosed with HIV about 34 years ago, when he was 23. He has been treated with various antivirals ever since his diagnosis. However, after the experimental treatment, he stopped taking antivirals. Drew’s viral load — the amount of HIV in one’s blood — has now been undetectable for about seven months, meaning it’s so low that tests can’t detect the virus, nor can it be transmitted through sex.
“What a dream to work with Octavia Spencer,” Newman says. “She is one of the most talented and incredible storytellers working today. I am so excited to be working with her, Brian and Stephanie to make sure Jeffrey’s story reaches the largest audience as possible.”