A year after Terri Schiavo died, Hollywood is looking to film her story.
A quartet of producers, including Mike Farrell and Lawrence Bender, have optioned the rights to Michael Schiavo’s just-published book “Terri: The Truth” and are looking to develop it as a telepic or feature film. Farrell and Bender would produce any project in conjunction with their respective partners, Marvin Minoff and Kevin Brown.
Schiavo’s death on March 31, 2005, came after a years-long battle between Michael Schiavo, husband of Terri Schiavo, and her parents over when it was appropriate to remove the brain-dead woman from life support. What began as a family feud ended up a national political battle.
“The story is almost Shakespearean in the warring of the families and the great love story between the (couple),” Minoff told Daily Variety. “It starts off so beautifully and then ends so chaotically.”
Farrell and Minoff acquired the rights thanks in part to their relationship with Michael Hirsh, who co-wrote “Terri: The Truth.” Brown has known Farrell and Minoff for more than a decade, and when they approached him about partnering on the project, he and Bender agreed.
“For a story that got this much press and attention, there’s a big part that’s yet to be told, and that’s Michael’s story,” Brown said. “Here’s a guy who goes from being a restaurant manager to being a nurse for his wife to having the president of the United States come just short of calling him a murderer.”
Producers don’t plan to hire a writer until they sell the project to a TV network or film studio. Goal is to tell Terri and Michael Schiavo’s story from the beginning of their romance.
Farrell and Minoff have worked together for nearly 20 years, producing both features (“Patch Adams”) and telepics (“Sins of the Mind”). There are no plans for Farrell to appear on-camera in the project.
Bender (“An Inconvenient Truth,” “Kill Bill”) and Brown (“Roswell”) have developed numerous TV projects over the past five years, including the Rob Lowe skein “Dr. Vegas.” They’re currently producing the CW comedy pilot “Flirt,” starring Wayne Brady.