Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Dreams really can come true!

Yesterday I chatted with a man who I am predicting will be an Oscar winning movie producer in the next few years.
I am becoming known for my fortune telling in some parts - particularly Clanfield where Allen and Sandra Parton live.
Even for me, yesterday was a little surreal.
We'd been invited to the PDSA's pet memorial gardens as Allen was being presented with a special memorial disk for Endal. (Check out their website - these memorial disks are a great idea).
It's always a pleasure seeing Allen and EJ, it was lovely to meet up with the good PDSA folks, too.
But as usual, a day out with Allen takes some unusual turns.
First there was a lovely lady over from Malaysia who had tracked down Allen and EJ to this pet cemetery in Ilford. The lady - not a dog owner herself - was also a Dogs Today reader who had previously emailed this blog with the idea of coming up with a sentence to sum up Endal with each word starting with a letter of his name. Since the book, lots of people have been turning up from all over the world just to shake the Parton's hands and meet EJ.
It was the old Endal magic working again.
And the next person I met was Simon Brooks. I'd spoken to Simon twice in the week before and oddly it felt like I was talking to an old friend - which considering he was a proper Hollywood film producer seemed remarkable.
Eight years ago, at Crufts, I awoke in my hotel room with a very urgent need to convince someone to make a movie about Allen and Endal.
I phoned up Peter Smith, a good friend who I had always imagined capable of anything after he helped me do my MBO of Dogs Today, and insisted he drive to Birmingham immediately to meet Allen, Sandra and Endal.
Bless him, he dutifully did.
He saw the vision, too. He went off to try to make it happen. But he'd never made a film - he'd made commercials and TV programmes - but never a film.
I wrote off to 10 different publishers suggesting a book instead. No reply. Harper Collins was in that list, too.
A very kind wealthy chap offered to fund me going to film school in France and hinted he might put up the money for the movie if I wrote the script. But I had a little boy and a business depending on me, I couldn't run off to learn a new career - tempting as it sounded!
Despite a lot of enthusiasm we all got no where! But still remained convinced that this was definitely an Oscar-winning movie.
I could imagine almost every frame, it had touches of the English Patient, the feel-good factor of Shine and that extra ingredient that is Endal.
And then Isabel George (PDSA press officer and ironically also at the gathering yesterday) wrote a brilliant piece for She magazine that revealed Sandra's story. For many years Sandra had been strong and pretty much silent, letting Allen get on with all the media. She had fought shy of telling her story, but Isabel had done a great job in teasing it out of her. It revealed a new side to what is a love story, a very strong, brave woman keeping her family together against the odds. (Sandra is invited to this year's Woman of the Year lunch incidentally.)
The folk at Harper Collins were already working on a book idea, but that piece in She changed their direction and they came up with the alternate chapter scenario where Allen and Sandra each told their own versions of the story.
That internationally best-selling book inspired a moving Sky documentary. (Regular readers will probably remember - the one partly shot at our photoshoot, the one where I had terrible flu, bad hair and a very red nose in glorious HD... they did say I wasn't going to be interviewed!)
Guess who caught that documentary on TV quite by chance? Simon Brooks, film producer.
He saw the vision, too. He could see this was a great movie.
Chatting with Simon in Ilford yesterday was great fun.
Would Ewan McGregor, Colin Firth or Michael Sheen make the best Allen?
Kate Winslet or Rachel Weiss for Sandra? And what a meaty role those two lead characters will have.
Who should train the dogs? Where will it be set? Who is writing the script?
It's Juliette Towhidi if you're a film buff - and she's already started! She wrote the script for the movie Calendar Girls. And if you want to check out Simon's back catalogue try White Noise or My Big Fat Greek Wedding.
Simon totally gets this movie. Thank god he's not going to Disneyfy it, which was my greatest fear. That it would move to America and all the dark would be removed. Simon's aware of the enormity of the human and canine story.
And you know the great thing, he's doggie, too.
He's a Bernese Mountain Dog man. And he revealed he's such a softie he's never been able to watch Marley and Me because he can't stand to see Marley being put to sleep.
Simon had been warned about my psychic abilities and I told him he was going to win an Oscar. "No pressure then!" was his reply.
They do say be careful what you dream of, but I really am delighted to see this one coming true and for the right film producer to have come along!
(My money would be on Ewan and Kate as the dream ticket, by the way Simon if you're reading this! Or indeed Ewan or Kate...! But Colin might pull it off...)
Just another day in the Parton household of course.
And yes, regular readers will have guessed it, I have already bored Simon rigid with my next film idea - John Carter the movie. Got another little one bubbling along, too! A chick flick about a dog magazine editor who dreams of making Oscar winning movies that actually happen!


Julie Hill said...

I'm so glad he's not aiming for a Marley & Me style tear jerker - I could not take another one! Should be a brilliant film, I'm looking forward to it. I was lucky enough to meet Endal at this year's Crufts, shortly before he died. Amazing dog and amazing man too.

Any visions of a humble podcaster & writer who wins the lottery? Or finally gets an agent/publisher? Okay - am I at least going to have something tasty for lunch? Ho hum!

In the pink said...

I'm just trying to remember the name of the teacher who sees into the future in Harry Potter...........Sybill Patricia Trelawney ...........a new alias perhaps. Can just see you floating around in wispy frocks and bangles Hrmmm
As for the film - of course like all the Endal fans I can't wait.