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FINDING NEVERLAND

About "Finding Neverland"
Director Marc Forster was looking for something magical when Academy Award nominated producer Richard Gladstein brought him David Magee's screenplay for FINDING NEVERLAND. Forster was immediately drawn to the story, which imagined the circumstances and emotions behind the creation and evolution of "Peter Pan,” a tale that has touched millions all over the world.

Inspired by J.M. Barrie's real-life friendship with the Llewelyn Davies family, FINDING NEVERLAND is infused with the same themes that make Barrie's play of "Peter Pan” so resonant: the wonder of the imagination, the nostalgia for childhood innocence and the longing to believe in something more enchanted than everyday life.

"I saw the film as a story about the power of a man's creativity to take people to another world, and about the deep human need for illusions, dreams and beliefs that inspire us even in the face of tragedy,” comments Forster. "For me, it is about the transformative power of imagination -- being able to transform yourself into something greater than you are, even if nobody believes in you."

For Richard Gladstein, FINDING NEVERLAND presented "a unique opportunity to create a film combining intimate personal and emotional drama with incredible bursts of imagination and invention.” He adds: "It's a story for the child and adult in all of us.”

David Magee's screenplay for FINDING NEVERLAND was adapted from award-winning playwright Allan Knee's stage play "The Man Who Was Peter Pan,” an imaginary series of conversations between Barrie and the Llewelyn Davies boys. Producer Nellie Bellflower had seen the play at a local theater workshop and immediately optioned it, bringing it to Magee. Notes Bellflower, "Allan Knee's play was an incredibly moving story of a man who becomes a father figure to these young boys and then guides them through terrible tragedy. I had always loved ‘Peter Pan' and Allan's play was a fantastic jumping-off point for exploring the creation of ‘Peter Pan' and its universal themes.”

Notes Magee: "The screenplay I wrote is not a factual retelling of what happened to James Barrie when he wrote Peter Pan. I wanted to tell a story about what it means to grow up and become responsible for those around you. I hope people see the film as a respectful tribute to Barrie's creative genius and come away with a feeling that as human beings, we can grow up without losing all aspects of childhood innocence and wonder.”

Magee also found that the story became ever more emotional and personal as he wrote. "My first child was about to be born when I started working on this material, and my father was coming to the end of his life after a long battle with cancer, so I was really thinking intensely about what it means to grow up and to become aware that time really is chasing after all of us,” he explains. "For me, this story is about a man who is starting to face these issues in his own life.”

Magee continues: "As a writer, I was also interested in exploring how one's own life inspires art and how art in turn informs our lives. There is this notion that creative people hold onto their childhoods longer than the rest of us, but there are moments throughout our lives that weigh on us heavily that we need to explore through storytelling and art. Barrie's brilliance in ‘Peter Pan' is that he expressed both the joy in childhood and just how bittersweet it is when you have to leave it behind. He took this very real and universal experience and made it something magnificent and special.”

At the suggestion of then Miramax executive, Michelle Sy, Nellie Bellflower sent a draft of the screenplay to producer Richard Gladstein. At this point, Sy contacted Gladstein and the project was set up at Miramax. The screenplay was developed and the search for the right director began. The search took a fateful turn w

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