Cameron Crowe has been circling a script by Oscar-nominated Devil Wears Prada screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna, based on the best-selling book We Bought a Zoo, the memoirs of former columnist for the U.K.'s Guardian newspaper, Benjamin Mee, that chronicles when he moved his family into a run-down twelve-bedroom mansion in the southwest English countryside, that included the 30-acre Dartmoor Wildlife Park, a dilapidated preserve that was home to 200 wild animals.
The project is being circled as a possible directing vehicle for Crowe, who hasn't directed a feature since 2005's Elizabethtown -- a movie that began about a fiasco, and ended up being a complete fiasco itself.
Crowe has been working on an untitled Pearl Jam documentary, and directed the music video for the band's radio hit, "The Fixer." But that was a bit of a let down as well. Surely the guy who brought us such musically driven classics as Almost Famous and Say Anything could inject some grace and beauty in a music video, but the video was plain and disorienting.
The start date for Crowe's supernatural rom-com, Deep Tiki, has been pushed back several times, due to scheduling conflicts with the film's stars -- Ben Stiller, Reese Witherspoon. While the idea for that didn't sound like Crowe's great comeback, We Bought A Zoo has all the elements that could match Crowe's biggest hit to date, Jerry Maguire.
Official Synopsis for We Bought A Zoo:
In the market for a house and an adventure, Benjamin Mee moved his family to an unlikely new home: a dilapidated zoo in the English countryside. Mee had a dream to refurbish the zoo and run it as a family business. His friends and colleagues thought he was crazy.
But in 2006, Mee and his wife with their two children, his brother, and his 76-year-old mother moved into the Dartmoor Wildlife Park. Their extended family now included: Solomon, an African lion and scourge of the local golf course; Zak, the rickety Alpha wolf, a broadly benevolent dictator clinging to power; Ronnie, a Brazilian tapir, easily capable of killing a man, but hopelessly soppy; and Sovereign, a jaguar and would-be ninja, who has devised a long term escape plan and implemented it. Nothing was easy, given the family’s lack of experience as zookeepers, and what follows is a magical exploration of the mysteries of the animal kingdom, the power of family, and the triumph of hope over tragedy.
Mee family’s successful efforts at rehabilitating the zoo’s menagerie of ailing beasts was juxtaposed with the steady decline of Mee’s wife, Katherine, who received a terminal-cancer diagnosis.
If Crowe does come aboard, he would do a little rewriting on McKenna's adapted script, which is apparently already quite good.
This remarkable true story could be a great film. I hope Cameron has some magic left, I'm definitely rooting for him.