December 17, 2010


Producer Barry Josephson (Life As We Know It) is bringing James King’s novel Bill Warrington’s Last Chance to the silver screen.  The novel tells the story of an elderly man who kidnaps his 14-year-old granddaughter with the hopes of reconnecting with his estranged adult children (at least “Plan F,” I’m hoping) before losing his memory to a bout with Alzheimer’s.  From Variety, Alexander Young will act as executive producer on the project under Josephson’s “Josephson Entertainment” moniker.

For an official synopsis of King’s novel, hit the jump.

Here’s the official synopsis [from Penguin Group Publishing]:

Deeply moving and often bitingly funny, Bill Warrington’s Last Chance is both a coming-of-age and a coming-of-old-age story. It explores, with equal empathy, two of life’s most challenging transitions — from childhood to adulthood and from adulthood to old age, illness, and death.

As the novel begins, seventy-nine-year-old Bill Warrington’s grasp on reality is slipping. He can no longer remember where he’s put things or who he’s speaking to when he calls one of his children to suggest a family reunion. The boundary between past and present has all but disappeared. His beloved wife Clare died long ago, and his three children — Mike, Nick, and Marcy — are essentially estranged both from him and from each other.

But when Marcy visits Bill at his request and brings along her teenage daughter, April, a connection between grandfather and granddaughter begins to take shape. And when Bill offers to teach her granddaughter how to drive, against Marcy’s vehement opposition, a seed is planted that will come to fruition in a wild road trip.

The novel is a multilayered exploration of what breaks families apart and what holds them together. Each of Bill Warrington’s children is still recovering from having him as a father — from his drinking, unsteady employment, and violent temper. Looking at the current mess of their respective love lives, Marcy asks Nick, “What’s wrong with us?” He answers simply: “We’re Warringtons” (p. 211). Their brother Mike’s life has also fallen apart, even though he’s done his best to escape the family’s downward gravitational pull by not speaking to any of them. True to form, April’s relationship with her mother is quickly unraveling and soon reaches the breaking point when she and her grandfather hit the road, headed for the farthest point west on the map — San Francisco.

A compelling story of one family’s dysfunction, Bill Warrington’s Last Chance is also a remarkable, often heartbreaking, representation of aging and the disorienting slide into Alzheimer’s. In the character of Bill Warrington, the novel shows readers not only what dementia looks like from the outside but what it feels like to the one who suffers from it. James King takes us inside the mind of a man who is slowly slipping beyond the reach of his family and of reality and lets us see the world through his eyes. It is a feat of extraordinary imaginative empathy.


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