DO YOU BELIEVE IN MAGIC? (Oct 20, 2014)
I made a wish for my birthday last month which I announced on Facebook a week in advance. I wished for a connection with a film producer who could help get my screenplay made into the award winning movie I envisioned. Within days the magic began to happen.
An artist friend, Donna Oehmig who had been to my retreat center here in Peru 10 years ago, suggested I contact Narelle in LA. “She works in the film industry, has been a producer and is right up your alley. She is very spiritual and is in the business of helping creative people make their most cherished dreams come true.” Narelle and I had many serendipitous connections when we spoke, including her sister living down the road from me in Cusco. I knew she was the right person for me to work with when she told me she only took clients who 100% believe their project will happen.
On the morning of my birthday the magic continued. A film producer named Dennis showed up at my door! He told me about his arrival in Cusco the day before and how he was drawn into a shop where he discovered my book, Cusco: The Magic of the Munay-Ki and felt he had to meet me. He was struck by a few “magical” connections between my life and his. With tears in his eyes, he shared his story, then reached out to me saying, “I know you know about this kind of magic.”
Indeed I did. I told him it was my birthday and what I had wished for. Amazed, he happily agreed to read my script and do what he could to get it into the hands of the people I wanted as lead actors, including Shirley MacLaine, who I thought was perfect to play STAR, the mystical character who helped Diane and Christer write their soul contract before they came to Earth.
Although the film has a different focus than my book, Dennis already knew about my fairy-tale love story with my husband Christer and the shock I experienced when he died suddenly only four years after we met. I told Dennis the film was called The Fifth Year and focused on the connection I had with Christer during the year after his death.
True to his word, Dennis read my script on his flight back to LA a week after my birthday. I also put him in touch with Narelle as my official rep in Hollywood. A few days later, Dennis was listening to the radio and heard that Shirley MacLaine was appearing live in LA (a rare event) speaking about her 50 years in show business.
He promptly called the box office and bought the last two tickets for the show. He got a note to Shirley’s dressing room along with a copy of my book before the show and met Narelle early at the theatre. They liked each other instantly. After thoroughly enjoying Shirley’s performance, they slipped backstage. By some unexplainable means, they were not stopped; Shirley received them in a warm and friendly fashion. As Dennis shared highlights of his recent trip to Peru, Shirley recalled her life-changing experiences in Peru 30+ years before which prompted the writing of her book and production of the film Out on a Limb. Narelle handed Shirley a copy of my film script as the three of them posed for a photo together.
The following week in a conference call, the three of us discussed possible directors and other principal actors. Dennis said he knew Clint Eastwood’s camera man and could probably get him a copy of the script. I told them about a movie I’d seen that Eastwood directed called Hereafter starring Matt Damon about a man who’d had a near-death experience as a child and since then could communicate with spirits of people who had died.
Narelle said she had a dream that Ron Howard asked her to direct our film. I liked many movies that Ron Howard directed and checked on-line to recall them. There was a link to his daughter Bryce Howard who is also an actress and director. As I was reading her bio, I noted that she had been in the film Hereafter, directed by Eastwood. She was quoted as saying, “When I read the script, I was hooked because Matt Damon’s character spoke with the deceased which many people in my family do.”
My Swedish husband was a tall handsome man and I want a tall handsome actor to play him. I had suggested Liam Neeson and Tim Robbins as possibilities. Narelle had an old boyfriend in Ireland who was good friends with Neeson and her step-daughter’s best friend is currently sharing a house with Tim Robbins’ son. Then, I remembered Jeff Daniels. When Jeff started his career, he lived in NY and was in the same theatre company as my boyfriend back in the 80s. All night long as I tried to sleep, I kept getting messages to write to Jeff Daniels, which I did the next morning, via his Michigan theatre company.
The same day Narelle got a call from an old friend and former client, a renowned musician. He was having a birthday party that night and invited Narelle to come. He wanted to talk with her about his good friend Jeff Daniels, who in addition to being a wonderful award-winning actor is also a musician. He and Jeff are working on a project together with a young jazz musician from Peru. He wanted Narelle to meet Jeff. Narelle told him about my script and he promptly agreed to pass it along to Jeff.
At the same party, Narelle was talking with one of the singers providing entertainment for the party. Turns out the singer has an actress sister who just finished making a film with Shirley MacLaine who told her that she was interested in making another movie in Peru!
Three weeks after my birthday, I went to New York to visit my parents. I stayed with my good friend Tory who I’ve known since high school. We lived across the hall from each other for many years in Greenwich Village, during my theatre days in NY. Tory still lived in the building. At dinner with my actress friend Karen, we talked about Julianne Moore playing me. When I got back to the Village, Tory told me that Julianne Moore lived four blocks away. Her son went to the same high school as Tory’s daughter.
Because there had been so many magical connections happening with this project, I thought for sure I would run into her if I walked down the street. I decided instead to write her a note and drop it at her door. Tory said it was one of three brownstones on a specific block. I went over with my hand-written note using my intuition to pick the right building. I walked up the steps and rang the doorbell. A handsome young man answered the door. “I have this note for Julianne Moore. Is this the right house or is it the one next door?” Smiling sweetly, her son reached out to take my envelop. “I can give it to her for you.”
That same day on the west coast, Narelle was contacting a good friend of hers who is good friends with the director of The Kids Are Alright, Lisa Cholodenko. The movie starred Julianne Moore and Annette Benning (married to Warren Betty, Shirley MacLaine’s brother). Two days later I got a lovely email from Julianne’s assistant saying she was touched by my note but for legal reasons I needed to submit the script through her manager in LA. She gave me the contact which I gave to Narelle. At Dennis’ suggestion, I sent Julianne a copy of my book, which her assistant assured me Julianne would get if I sent it via her manager in LA.
When I got back to Peru, I watched again The Kids Are Alright which is a wonderful movie. The DVD included interviews with Lisa Cholodenko who mentioned “spirituality”. I liked her instantly. Narelle’s friend happily agreed to give Lisa the script. We await her response.
I also watched several episodes of The Newsroom, an HBO series starring Jeff Daniels who won an Emmy award for his performance in the show last year. So now the Dream Team I am envisioning for the film is Lisa directing, Julianne as me, Jeff as Christer, Annette Benning as my best friend Wendy and Shirley playing Star. And of course, me, Narelle and Dennis as part of the production staff, shooting at my center in Peru next June!
If you believe in magic, you gotta know by now, this thing is going to happen! Christer wouldn’t have it any other way. Let’s see what the next installment of magic might be. I’ll keep you posted.
P.S. (Oct 21, 2014) While reminiscing with a former colleague about the passing of Oscar de la Renta yesterday, Narelle discovered that she (the colleague) was good friends with Sandra Bullock and agreed to give my script to Sandra, who was my original first choice to play me! The magic continues.