Feature film on Norman Rockwell to be made


A feature film, "Our Neighbor, Norman," based on the 2009 memoir, "The Unknown Rockwell: A Portrait Of Two American Families," co-authored by James "Buddy" Edgerton and Nan O'Brien, has been announced by Quixotic Endeavors.

Edgerton's family lived next door to the artist and his studio in Arlington, Vt., from 1943 to 1953, when Rockwell moved to Stockbridge, where he lived until his death in 1978.

Quixotic Endeavors, which last year released the documentary, "Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf's," focuses on "projects with an iconic theme," according to its website. The Rockwell film will be based on the artist's years in Arlington, where he painted many of his most famous works.

Film producer and screenwriter Matthew Miele said in a release: "Buddy's story of living next door to Norman for 10 years, during which time Buddy and his parents, grandmother, and siblings all modeled for Norman, provides an intimate understanding of Norman and the world in which Norman lived and illustrated that is unparalleled."

Miele added in an email that his script has been drafted and he expects it to be ready to be read in another two or three months. He also is seeking funding for the production.

"I am a writer/director," Miele said, "but will likely have another director for this, especially since it could attract a bigger name."

Quixotic Endeavors, based in New York, made the announcement jointly with Battenkill River Press, a division of FAN Entertainment & Media, LLC, which published Edgerton's book. They note that the film is planned amid controversy over a new biography of Rockwell, "American Mirror: The Life and Art of Norman Rockwell" by Deborah Solomon, and shortly after record prices were paid at auction for works by the artist.

In her book, Solomon speculates whether Rockwell had repressed homosexual or pedophilic tendencies and whether these are reflected in his work.

Edgerton, now 84 and living in the Burlington, Vt., area, and his son, James Edgerton Jr., have denounced these and other aspects of Solomon's book -- as have members of the Rockwell family.

James Edgerton Jr. said Thursday that the film "will portray the strong relationship that the Edgertons had with the Rockwell family, both as models and neighbors, beginning in 1943 and continuing today."

The film also comes after Rockwell's work, "Saying Grace," sold for a record-setting $46 million at a Sotheby's auction in early December.

"The Unknown Rockwell" co-author Nan O'Brien said in the release: "Both Buddy and I are thrilled that Matthew Miele and the team at Quixotic Endeavors are bringing our heart-warming story to Rockwell's innumerable fans. Buddy and the Rockwell sons -- Jerry, Tom, and Peter -- are still friends more than seven decades after becoming neighbors. We know that the story will fascinate, engage, and uplift audiences who love Norman Rockwell and his massive contribution to our culture, a love affair with the public that clearly continues to this day."

The Edgerton book was launched at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge in 2009.

To reach Jim Therrien:
or (413) 496-6247
On Twitter: @BE_therrien


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