Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Nancy White Kelly

Coming to a theater near you…maybe, maybe not.

If you received an email from someone telling you that they were an Oscar-winning filmmaker who wanted to do a documentary on your life, you would likely laugh. Yea, right. Perhaps you would play along to see how far this wacky spammer would go.

The fact is I did receive such an email two months ago. The stranger gave his name and a list of his movie credits. He was on first-name basis with many movie stars with familiar names. He had read my book and reprints of newspaper columns on the internet.

He said all the right things. His father had died of cancer. Several friends of his dear wife had battled breast cancer. They had told him the value of humor in the dark tunnel of uncertainty. He too was a man of faith. The mystery man was Bill Couturié. He said my story was inspirational. He wanted to buy the rights to Journal of a Living Lady so he could produce a movie.

I was dubious, but checked him out. Yes, he had won seven Emmys and an Oscar. He had directed movie greats such as Morgan Freeman and Jody Foster. He lived in the same town as Anthony Hopkins.

Bottom line. I signed a contract and endorsed a modest check this week. It is so surreal. How could a chummy regional writer end up on the big screen?

Bill warned that the film probably would not do as well as Pirates of the Caribbean. His motive is more altruistic that commercial. He is willing to invest a minimum of two million dollar. There was a hint in the initial contract of ten times that much. The journey from book to screen is quite lengthy. Probably Bill should have included a caveat in his contract: “the undersigned agrees to remain living until the project is completed.”

Mr. Couturié and I have emailed several times now. I had to laugh at his last correspondence. He confidently referred to his up-coming task of selling this unusual proposal to high-roller film investors. His selling pitch to them would be: a “big Christian lady” who went on to live a victorious life after being diagnosed with terminal cancer.

This was an ambiguous choice of words. Granted, I am plus-size. I profess to be a Christian. I try to epitomize a true, Southern lady. But, Buddy, honey, please don’t write “big Christian lady” on my tombstone.



Anonymous said...

How very exciting for you -- your book is still well-used in our patient library and I have a feeling when the "movie" comes out it will be just as popular.
God is so GOOD!

JoAnn N.

Bob Cleveland said...

So .. do you have rights as to whom they choose to play you? Camryn Mannheim seems a bit .. much, and I don't think Roseanne Barr would ... would ... would .. well,I just don't.