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Irwin Winkler Adapts Alzheimer’s Memoir


Writer and producer Irwin Winkler, best known for some of America’s favorite films of all time -like Rocky (1976), Goodfellas (1990) and Wolf of Wall Street (2013) –  has another project in the works. Just yesterday he confirmed that he will co-write and direct a feature length film adaptation of Dwayne J. Clark‘s 2012 alzheimer’s memoir My Mother, My Son“.

The novel is “a candid portrait of the love, humor, patience, uncertainty and guilt when facing dementia and the significant emptiness that it leaves in a family” that also illustrates a cruel twist of fate. Clark, who came from a poor family that had little means was able to fulfill his mother’s dream to be successful with all the trappings of life. Never did he imagine that his mother’s dreams would end with the debilitating disease, alzheimer’s. Even though Clark’s career revolved around elderly care and memory loss as CEO of Aegis Living, he still had a difficult time coming to terms with the painful realization that his mother would one day forget who he was.

The “My Mother, My Son” film adaptation will mark the fourth collaboration between Irwin Winkler and Emmett/ Furla/ Oasis Films (the previous being Martin Scorsese‘s upcoming film project, Silence – which is currently in post production – and an adaptation of David Mamet‘s 1988 stage play about Hollywood, Speed-The-Plow.) Winkler is co-writing the film with Jose Ruisanchez and producing with Randall Emmett and George FurlaTyler Jon Olson will co-produce.

The idea to adapt the memoir for the big screen began when Clark gave Emmet a copy of “My Mother, My Son“, and joked that the story would “make a great movie someday.” Shortly after, Emmett called Clark and asked if he had been kidding.

“I kind of was,” Clark told Shorenstein Hays Nederlander (SHN). “But Randy wasn’t kidding.”

After reading Clark’s book, Emmett showed it to Winkler, and the rest was history. Winkler told Emmett that he was interested in making “My Mother, My Son into a film—and that the film adaptation would be his last.

Clark’s story had resonated with Winkler, who, like billions of people worldwide, has watched loved ones struggle with debilitating memory loss. “We knew this was a story that needed to be told,” said Emmett. “And with Irwin and Jose adapting the screenplay and Irwin directing, it behooved us to commit to it as well.”

“It’s not easy to share the most difficult moments of your life on the big screen” Clark added. “But with this partnership, I believe my story will be told with a passionate sense of purpose that I hope will inspire millions and let them know they are not alone.”

When asked what actor he would like to see himself play on screen, Clark stayed mum. “I don’t care who plays me,” he said. “My hopes for the film are that it does justice to my mother, and honors who she was, and that it does justice to the disease.”

Clark revealed that the movie, which does not yet have a title, is expected to start shooting in the fall. Regarding his role in the making of the film, Clark said that he will have “a great amount of control” in the process; first and foremost, the film will stay true to the story.

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