×

‘Grandin’s’ road to the Emmys

TV movie not exactly an easy sell

It was not exactly an easy sell: a TV movie about a woman who has autism, and, oh by the way, she designs slaughterhouses.

Bringing the story of “Temple Grandin” to the screen was a 10-year journey for exec producers that included Emily Gerson Saines and Anthony Edwards. The effort culminated Sunday night with seven Emmy wins, including telepic, longform acting kudos for Claire Danes, Julia Ormond and David Strathairn and longform helming for Mick Jackson.

The real-life Grandin was on hand at the Nokia for the triumph, as was her mother, Eustacia Grandin.

“I hope this movie is going to educate a lot of people about autism,” Grandin, decked out in colorful ranch-style duds, told reporters backstage.

The pic was a very personal quest for Gerson Saines. After her son was diagnosed with autism, her mother gave her a book by Grandin that opened her eyes to the aspects of the disorder that has “reached epidemic proportions in this country,” as Gerson Saines said in her acceptance speech.

After reading Grandin’s “Thinking in Pictures,” Gerson Saines reached out to Grandin, who was receptive to working with her on a biopic. Gerson Saines, a talent manager who heads Brookside Artists Management, did not have a lot of producing credits under her belt at the time. Her background was as an agent for WMA; she was a co-founder of Autism Coalition for Research and Education, which is now part of Autism Speaks.

Grandin’s story touched Gerson Saines because she overcame such adversity, growing up on a farm in Arizona in the 1950s and ’60s, when very little was known about autism. She was diagnosed as schizophrenic, but with the the help of her mother she was able to channel her sensory and impulse problems into working with animals in ways that would later prove pioneering in the realm of animal science.

“I don’t think I’ve ever worked harder on a performance. It was epic in its scope,” Danes said. “I don’t think I’ve ever been as inspired by any character that I’ve played. I was deeply moved by Temple’s courage and her resourcefulness.”

More TV

  • Love Island - Pictured: Kyra Green,

    TV Ratings: Is 'Love Island' Deserted?

    Two weeks have passed on “Love Island” and plenty of singles have coupled and uncoupled in their bid for love and a fat $100,000 pay check. However, there’s one couple that doesn’t seem to be hitting it off: CBS and “Love Island.” Ratings for the show have been far from paradisiacal, and with the network [...]

  • Jenny Wall Eryk Casemiro Nickelodeon

    Jenny Wall Named Nickelodeon CMO, Eryk Casemiro Named Senior VP of Nickelodeon Preschool

    Nickelodeon has hired two new executives, tapping Jenny Wall to become chief marketing officer and Eryk Casemiro to become senior vice president of Nickelodeon Preschool. Most recently CMO at Spotify-owned Gimlet Media, Wall will be responsible for all on- and off-air consumer marketing, brand creative and content launches across all of Nickelodeon’s platforms, including Nicktoons, [...]

  • Liz Garbus on Why We May

    Liz Garbus on Why The World May Never Know 'Who Killed Garrett Phillips'

    By the time Liz Garbus’s two-part documentary “Who Killed Garrett Phillips?” debuts on HBO, there could be a new public lead in the case of the murdered titular 12-year-old. As least, that’s what many may hope after the new St. Lawrence County district attorney admitted a new tip earlier this spring. Garbus says she would [...]

  • Mike Fleiss

    'Bachelor' Producers in Wait-and-See Mode Amid Police Probe Into Fleiss Incident

    Those working on “The Bachelor” and its sister shows are in wait-and-see mode as a domestic incident involving creator Mike Fleiss continues to be investigated in Kauai, according to sources close to production. The results of the police investigation are still pending, after Fleiss’ wife, Laura Fleiss, had accused him of attacking her in their [...]

  • Variety Cord Cutting Placeholder Cable

    Cable Blackouts Growing More Common, Even If Subscribers Get Angry

    Among media companies, “going dark” was once a matter of last resort. Now it’s an option that is seeing more light. CBS is not currently available on DirecTV or AT&T’s U-verse, the result of a battle over how much the two outlets’ owner, AT&T, ought to pay for the right to send CBS into millions [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content