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EXTRAORDINARY MEASURES

Finding An Extraordinary Story
For years, Harrison Ford and producers Michael Shamberg, Stacey Sher, and Carla Santos Shamberg had been seeking a project on which they could collaborate. Six years ago that search ended, when Ford read Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Geeta Anand's Wall Street Journal article, and later Anand's book entitled The Cure: How a Father Raised $100 Million – and Bucked the Medical Establishment – in a Quest to Save His Children), on John Crowley and the Crowley family. Captivated by multiple themes, Ford recognized the makings of a movie in this compelling material.

"I thought Geeta's book had something to say about personal courage, initiative, parents' love, and the power to overcome extraordinarily difficult circumstances,” remembers Ford. "If we could wrestle this into the shape of a movie, we would be bringing a story to the screen which would enrich people's lives.”

The producers agreed. Here was an opportunity to share an engaging, truthful story filled with emotional and physical obstacles – a story framed by one family's crusade to overcome great adversity. "What struck us about John is that he's a real-life hero,” says Shamberg. "He went on a courageous journey and risked everything, along with his wife Aileen, to do what was best for their children.”

The Crowley family's story would be perfectly at home at Double Feature Films, Shamberg and Sher's production company. A number of successful films inspired by real life subjects adorn the company's notable filmography including Erin Brockovich, Freedom Writers and World Trade Center.

"The best true stories read like fiction and Geeta's book was definitely no exception," notes Sher. "You think, ‘Nobody would buy this if it wasn't true or, as with our film, inspired by true events.'”

Though the Crowley family had already grown comfortable relating their story to Anand, there was some initial hesitation when Hollywood came calling.

"My dad was a cop and my mom was a waitress,” says John Crowley. "I didn't grow up in the Hollywood scene so I was a little skeptical at first. But the producers had done some wonderful films and have some very unique experiences in producing films inspired by real life stories so that made us more comfortable. And also Harrison was involved from day one which made the project all the more attractive.”

With the Crowleys on board, a collaborative effort to bring the story to the screen was about to begin.

Turning this family's journey and The Cure into a two-hour feature presented a delicate balancing act. The timeline of events, which encompassed several years, had to be condensed and yet the story still needed to engage audiences in the arduous, groundbreaking scientific process that saved the Crowley children. The task would indeed be both challenging and rewarding. The producers met with Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Robert Nelson Jacobs and quickly realized they had found the right person to adapt the story.

"He had written Chocolat,” notes Santos Shamberg. "He's a very sensitive writer. The process of turning Geeta's book and the Crowleys' story into a movie would be quite a long process. Robert came up with a good script within a year, which is very lucky.”

"There are several things that moved me creatively and emotionally to tell this story,” says Jacobs. "I was very drawn in by this family. They deal with adversity with a lot of grace and humor. I think that's an important story to tell.”

Jacobs found Anand's book to be an invaluable resource and the journalist/author to be "extremely generous with sharing her research.” But Jacobs also immersed himself in his own extensive research of the family.

Though the film's main emphasis was to capture the family's extraordinary journey to overcome the odds, Jacobs also felt it important to re

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