'Puncture,' shot in Houston, hits the big screen

September 22, 2011 10:00:00 PM PDT
A legal drama hits the big screen this weekend and Houston plays a big part in it. The film 'Puncture' tells the story of two Houston lawyers fighting medical corruption.

'Puncture' is a movie that was born in Houston from a lawsuit filed in Houston by two Houston lawyers, Michael Weiss and Paul Danziger, in the late 90's. Danziger would later write a screenplay that centered around a syringe with a retractable needle and its inventor.

"He had been friends with many nurses who'd actually contracted AIDS, hepatitis and communicable diseases, so he set about designing a better needle," said Danziger.

But hospital group purchasing organizations wouldn't buy the needles, so Weiss and Danziger filed an anti-trust lawsuit, taking on the medical industry.

Weiss is portrayed in 'Puncture' by Chris Evans, who also starred in 'Captain America' and 'Fantastic Four,' while Danziger is portrayed by Mark Kassen.

Weiss -- in real life and in the film -- meets his legal nemesis in the lawyer for the purchasing groups, and in another Houston link he is played by actor Brett Cullen. He was born in Houston and graduated from the University of Houston. Cullen has been acting for years -- a lot of TV roles including 'Lost' and a lot of films including Apollo 13. And in 'Puncture' he gets to play the legal villain.

"A screenwriter's dream of what a Texas lawyer is, who you really don't like, but is sort of entertaining," said Cullen.

'Puncture' is a legal drama but one without a tidy happy ending. Attorney Mike Weiss battles his drug addiction demons and loses. He died before the lawsuit was settled and his client won a large judgment. And the work to better protect health care workers from accidental punctures and disease is still a work in progress.

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