Adaptation of 'Dandelion Wine' accelerated in wake of death

In the wake of Ray Bradbury’s death, producers of a film adaptation of Bradbury’s semi-autobiographical “Dandelion Wine” are stepping up efforts to bring the project to the bigscreen.

“We going to start talking with directors now,” said Phoenix Pictures’ Mike Medavoy, who came onboard the project last summer with Doug McKay and the husband-wife team of Rodion Nahapetov and Natasha Shliapnikoff.

Bradbury died Tuesday night in Los Angeles.

“His passing is devastating,” Shliapnikoff said. “He had pulled through so many other times. He was always happy and kind, always saying he was glad to be alive.”

Medavoy said the script for the project, penned by Nahapetov, is in “excellent” shape.

Story, published in 1957, takes place in the 1928 summer in Green Town, Ill. — which closely resembles Bradbury’s home of Waukegan, Ill. The protagonist is 12-year-old Douglas Spaulding, whose short stories are tinged with fantasy.

Nahapetov, a Russian native, made a short film in Russia based on the novel.

“When I began my studies at the Cinema Institute in Moscow, many foreign books were banned in Soviet Russia,” he said last summer. “Still, I decided to make my short film based upon ‘Dandelion Wine’ because this novel represented to me the childhood I never had.”

The film deal for “Dandelion Wine” was announced shortly before Bradbury’s 91st birthday.

“This is the best birthday gift I could ask for,” Bradbury said at the time. “Today, I have been reborn! ‘Dandelion Wine’ is my most deeply personal work and brings back memories of sheer joy as well as terror. This is the story of me as a young boy and the magic of an unforgettable summer which still holds a mystical power over me.”

Medavoy produced “Shutter Island,” “Black Swan” and “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” which McKay co-produced.

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