Are Pickett Engineering and Pickett Centre for Tuatara Research Real Companies?

Image Credit: Ryan Sweeney/Max

Max’s ‘Turtles All the Way Down’ follows Aza Holmes, who is trying to keep her OCD in check but failing. Her life gets even more complicated when her best friend, Daisy, suggests they should try to find the missing billionaire, who happens to be the father of Davis Pickett, the guy Aza met at a grief camp a few summers ago. Through him, the girls expect to find the father and claim the reward money that could change their lives. One would think that having a billionaire for a father would secure Davis’ life, but it turns out his father has other plans, making us wonder if someone could do what his father did in real life. SPOILERS AHEAD

The Fictional Pickett Business is a Vital Part of the Story

‘Turtles All the Way Down’ is based on the book of the same name by John Green, who came up with the characters in the Pickett family to serve the narrative of Aza’s story. After having sketched Aza’s character, with the focus on her OCD, Green wanted to create a sub-plot that would add some mystery to the story. He was inspired by the detective shows that featured obsessive people as brilliant protagonists solving unsolvable crimes. Green wanted to subvert the trope by having an obsessive detective whose investigation suffers due to her obsession, which also interrupts and impacts other parts of her life.

Another thing that he wanted to focus on was the intersection of two different kinds of lives, especially from the financial point of view. With the son of the billionaire and the girl from a working-class family, the contrast couldn’t have been higher, which eventually helped Green highlight the similarities more than the differences between the characters. So, he created Davis Pickett and his father, Russell, the owner of Pickett Engineering and a fraud, the discovery of which leads him to run away from home.

Another interesting thing about the Picketts is that Davis’ father was more concerned with funding the research project at the Pickett Centre for Tuatara Research, to which he dedicated himself. He was interested in finding the magic of longevity through the DNA of the tuatara, who can live anywhere between 60 and 100 years. Davis’s father was more invested in the research and the secret of longevity than his children.

While there have been ongoing studies of the tuatara’s genome, there is no real-life version of Pickett’s research company. As mentioned in the movie, the tuatara are known for their longevity, and there is a chance that a search in the said field might already be happening. For Davis and his brother, however, it simply means that they’re both going to be homeless, as all the money would go to the research center once their father dies.

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