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Medavoy brews Ray Bradbury’s ‘Dandelion Wine’

Deal announced three days before Bradbury's 91st birthday

Ray Bradbury’s semi-autobiographical “Dandelion Wine” is coming to the bigscreen with Phoenix Pictures’ Mike Medavoy and Doug McKay producing.

Bradbury, RGI Prods.’ husband and wife team Rodion Nahapetov and Natasha Shliapnikoff are working with Medavoy and McKay to produce the adaptation, with Nahepetov penning the script. Bradbury turns 91 today.

“This is the best birthday gift I could ask for,” Bradbury said. “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.”

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.

Bradbury noted many of Medavoy’s films are among his favorites and credited McKay, VP at Phoenix, for being instrumental in launching the project. Medavoy recently produced “Shutter Island” and “Black Swan” and is in production on “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” which McKay is co-producing.

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. “Still, I decided to make my short film based upon ‘Dandelion Wine’ because this novel represented to me the childhood I never had.”

Banning — and burning — books by a totaliarian regime was the subject of Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451,” adapted for the screen by Francois Truffaut in 1967.

Short story collection “The Martian Chronicles” became a 1980 miniseries starring Rock Hudson, while “The Illustrated Man,” was a 1969 feature starring Rod Steiger. “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” starring Jason Robards, was adapted in 1983.

Bradbury’s honors include the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Commander of Arts and Letters Award from the French government and the National Medal of Arts from the U.S. government.

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