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Movie Deal Crashes and Burns

My big movie deal with Warner Brothers has crashed and burned. And it did so in the most agonizing way, with lots of initial good cheer and hope, big dreams, big names and big money. Two years of hard work followed, and then the key executive and proponent of the film got fired, then refinancing troubles, distressing delays, and I was out the back door like I never existed. At first it was great. I took the screen writer on a two week tour of jump bases (Redmond, Boise and McCall) where he saw jumps and interviewed jumpers. We went to a smokejumper open-house bash in McCall in a jumper's backyard. It had a Western theme with boots, hats and chaps, and a couple big campfires. The screenwriter saw lots of beer drinking and heard lots of stories and saw jumpers up-close and personal. Even took him to a smokejumper wedding with a lot of pretty girls. All that was great. A month later at a jumper reunion he met Erik the Blak, Don Bell, Steve Nemore, Rod Dow and a cast of several other old dinosaur-type jumpers. Then, two years later, the firing occurred, the screenplay turned out weak, and the deal went south right before my eyes. It was very hard. It took me a couple years to get over it. In the meantime I've written a screenplay of my own. I don't know. Maybe someday, someone in Hollywood--like Clint Eastwood, Robert Redford, or Sean Penn--will see the great potential in telling our story from the inside and from the heart like it's written in Jumping Fire. It's unlikely, I know, but there's still a part of me that wishes we'd had the chance.


Murry A. Taylor has been a smokejumper since 1965. He divides his time between Alaska and northern California. Jumping Fire is his first book. Taylor's e-mail address is: murrytay@sisqtel.netAll photographs by Mike McMillan/Spotfire Images • Site by Visual Contact