Tuesday, July 29, 2008

"Hurricane Mary" labor of love for actor Chris Cooper

Chris Cooper

Oscar-winning actor Chris Cooper of films such as "Adaptation," Seabiscuit," and "American Beauty" mentioned in an Irish newspaper that he and his wife, Marianne, are shepherding a film through Hollywood that deals with inclusive education for kids with cerebral palsy. Cooper's son, Jesse, had CP and his wife wrote the screenplay for "Hurricane Mary," which is based on the true story of a mother with twins with CP fighting to get them into school.

From The Herald in Ireland:

Inspired by their son Jesse, who was born with cerebral palsy in 1987, the story has been written by Marianne and stars Chris. It is a true-life account of a mother's struggle to have her disabled twin daughters integrated into the US public school system and co-stars Dakota Fanning and William H Macy.

"Hurricane Mary is the story of Mary Somoza and her twin daughters who suffer from cerebral palsy,'' Chris explains. "When the girls came of age, they ran into a brick wall as far as the educational system was concerned. All Mary wanted for her daughters was a simple public school education. We had run into the very same problem with our son and we met Mary through our pediatrician.''

Sadly, Jesse died in January 2005 from complications of the disease, and the Jesse Cooper Foundation memorial fund was set up in his name.

Chris adds: "The script is very emotional, but Marianne wrote me a part that allowed me to say and express what I was too emotionally tied up or shut down to say when it happened to us.''

According to imdb.com, the movie will start production in Sept. 2008. In March 2008, Cooper also spoke about the need for the film to illustrate how parents of children with disabilities have to struggle against the U.S. medical and educational institutions.