[Film] Happily retired in Torrey, Utah, Chip Ward is turning cartwheels.
Make those figurative cartwheels--but Ward is thrilled, to say the least.
Actor and filmmaker Emilio Estevez recently bought the rights to an essay Ward wrote last year detailing how public libraries have become defacto shelters for the homeless in the two decades that state and federal social service budgets have been slashed. The essay first ran here. Since then, the Los Angeles Times and various library journals have published the piece. Working title of Estevez's film is The Public. Apparently, Estevez will take the bones of Ward's non-fiction piece and build a drama around it by setting the action in a big public library and by tracing lives of the homeless who use the building for shelter, safety and basic human interaction.
Estevez is in pre-production now and plans to begin filming in April. This film industry site details how producer Harvey Weinstein encouraged Estevez to follow up his work in last year's Bobby with something of similar social and cultural significance. (Bobby, which I did not see, generally received lackluster reviews and had a poor run at the box office. But it's hard to quibble with the topic.)
Ward retired last summer from his longtime position as assistant director of the Salt Lake City Main Library. He's a passionate environmentalist with an extensive writing background on issues ranging from water and wetlands conservation, to Southern Utah wilderness to anti-nuclear activism. Ward and his wife Linda, a retired school teacher, realized their dream of living near Capitol Reef National Park when they moved to Torrey last year.
In an e-mail today announcing the Estevez project, Ward merely wrote: "Holy cow. It's actually going to be a movie!"
That's Emilio in the photo at left, and Chip at the right. (Holly Mullen)