Towns Sanford, Cindy Hogen, Duane A Sikes and Joshua Todd

From Script to Film: the making of Magical Mystery Cure

Written by Sharon Cobb, who also scripted June and False Confessions of a True Hollywood Screenwriter, Magical Mystery Cure is a story set in Northeast Florida about two young brothers taking destiny into their own hands.

Ramona Ramdeen and Sharon Cobb
Ramona Ramdeen and Sharon Cobb

Magical Mystery Cure stars Towns W. Sanford and Joshua Todd. The film is directed by Ryan P. Dean and produced by Ramona Ramdeen. Executive Producer Duane A. Sikes approached Cobb about financing a short film featuring the two young actors. It was up to Cobb to develop the concept. “I’ve been writing films for a lot of years so when somebody comes to me and says, ‘I’d like to fund a short film and let’s star Towns Sanford and Joshua Todd’, I immediately start thinking of ideas for two young boys. What do you do with that? I thought of a road trip and connecting the boys on that trip. There needs to be this pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, somewhere they’re going that really has a noble cause.”

9.JoshuaTodd,TownsSanfordThe hell-or-high-water cause is the central focus of this touching dark comedy. Two young brothers, Holden and Cauley take off for Florida in search of a magical cure after Cauley is diagnosed with stage four cancer. While Cauley has seemingly accepted that his life will be cut short, Holden is determined that an online Magical Mystery Cure will save his brother. The one thing that stands out most—besides the obvious nod to J.D. Salinger—is their optimism, something Cobb found herself desperately clinging to when she was writing the script.

“Some people say write what you know. I write what I know and what I don’t know as well,” she says. “One thing I know a lot about, unfortunately, is cancer.” Cobb’s husband, Robert Ward, was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer in April of 2012. Ward is the print editor at the Jacksonville Business Journal. “It’s been difficult. Right before he was diagnosed again, Duane Sikes came to me and said, ‘Let’s do this film with the boys,’ and I said, ‘Yeah, that sounds great,’ because I was so angry, not with him but with the cancer. It’s sort of a wish fulfillment thing. I think a lot of people can identify with this idea that everyone is looking for a magical mystery cure for something.”

director Ryan Dean with Towns Sanford
director Ryan Dean with Towns Sanford

Sikes is well-known in the Jacksonville film community as a champion for aspiring talent. Cobb pitched the story over dinner and the rest, as they say, was history. “Everyone liked it,” she says. “It’s pretty unusual to only pitch one story and they say, ‘That’s it.’ I was pretty pleased with that.”

Cobb was familiar with the young stars, Sanford and Todd. Both had small roles in the feature film June, written by Cobb and L. Gustavo Cooper. Cindy Hogan, who also starred in June and had a recurring role as Dr. Lewis on the show Army Wives, plays Janine, a motel manager who befriends the boys and helps Cauley check items off his bucket list.

The cast and film crew are local to Jacksonville, and filming was completed on location in St. Augustine. “We always support the filmmakers and actors and crew in Jacksonville as much as we can. If we don’t support our own community, who are we supporting?” she says. “One of the things that helps foster this proliferation of local films is the Sun-Ray Cinema. They do a short film showcase every few months or so. To see your work in a theatre with all your friends, that’s a feeling that’s magical.” For more information, visit

About Liza Mitchell