The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Screenwriter: Ronald Harwood

Distrib/release date: Miramax/Nov. 30

Adapted from: Bestselling memoir of the same name by the late Jean-Dominique Bauby, former editor of French Elle.

Storyline: After a stroke leaves him immobile but for his left eyelid, 43-year-old Bauby composes his memoir by blinking as a physiotherapist and then a transcriber read the letters off a chart.

About the script: “It’s about the triumph of the human spirit over dreadful adversity, a subject that’s always interested me. ‘The Pianist’ was about that as well,” says Harwood.

Biggest challenge: “How to tell it,” Harwood says. “It’s written by a man who blinks one eye as letters of the alphabet are read to him. How do you do that?”

Breakthrough idea: “Thinking that the camera could be him, so that the camera did the blinking. And that idea was absolutely liberating, a washing-line on which you could hang pretty much everything.”

Choice line: “My favorite line in the picture is when Bauby opens his eyes and sees these beautiful women. And he says, ‘I’ve gone to heaven.'”

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