It's the most common question at signings, speeches, and even by e-mail. "When's the movie coming out?"
I've been dragging my feet on providing an update in hopes for better news. But alas, I've decided that sometimes even a little bad news is better than no news at all...
Many of you have astutely noticed, and remembered, that the 2006 paperback edition of Christmas Jars had the words "Coming as a major motion picture in 2008" splashed across the top of the back cover. At the time we thought that was true. The rights had been optioned, the option exercised, and an independent filmmaker was set to guide the movie to the silver screen.
A beautiful script was even written by the very talented storyteller, Academy Award-winning director Kieth Merrill. Of course Kieth was also set to direct. The Executive Producer was Barry McLerran, an outstanding executive and project manager.
We were on our way! But a funny thing happened on the way to your local multiplex.... Hollywood.
Turns out making a movie is a time-consuming and often frustrating process with more bumpy starts and stops than a 30-year old Fiat. But I've learned this is common in Hollywood. Very few movies get a script, funding, stars, locations and rolling cameras without investing years of sweat equity first.
So during a slowdown in the fundraising phase, the company originally set-up to make the movie optioned the rights to a brand new studio, Audience Alliance, which was co-founded by Kieth. After a brief hiccup, we were once again ready to get Christmas Jars into production!
And then another not-so-funny thing happened.... The economy pulled a Titanic and left investors reevaluating their interest in the fairly risky world of movie making. So after bringing a casting director on board and scouting for locations in gorgeous places like Nashville, Tennessee, the film was once again put on hold.
And that's where we stand today. We'd hoped that Christmas Jars would begin filming in January and February of this year. First the winter scenes, then the spring scenes, then post-production and a fall release. Given the reality of the calendar, and no stars being attached the project yet, that's a nearly impossible schedule now. Our best hope is probably for a 2010 release.
But let's end with some good news. I have read the script and it's wonderful. In some ways it's even better than the book! I have no doubt that Kieth and his new studio will make a powerful film that will stand the test of time and inspire millions to start Christmas Jars of their own.
Is it disappointing that the film has been delayed? Absolutely. But the important thing is to make the film right, to have the best people involved, and to stay true to the spirit of the jar.
Thanks so much for your patience. I know how much we were all hoping to see the film sooner than later, but I promise you that you will not -- will not! -- be disappointed with the finished product.
Also, as a side-note, we have serious interest from someone to bring Recovering Charles to the big screen. I'll give you details as they develop.