Saga of Record-Setting Aviatrix, Jennifer Murray, to Get Film Treatment
Award-winning Writer/Producer/Director Dax Phelan (JASMINE) has acquired the screen rights to "Now Solo" (2003), "Broken Journey"(2006), and "Polar First" (2008) by record-breaking American-born British aviatrix Jennifer Murray. Phelan will adapt the books and direct. The pic will be produced by Phelan and Eric M. Klein (JASMINE, HAPPY HOUR, THE YOUNG UNKNOWNS) via New SILK Road Entertainment and Hey Klein Pictures, and executive produced by Stratton Leopold (MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III, PAYCHECK, THE SUM OF ALL FEARS). A search for a lead actress to play Murray is currently underway.
The story will center on Murray, a housewife and mother, who, at age 54, learned to fly when her husband bought a half share in a helicopter in 1994. A few years later, she became the first woman to pilot a helicopter around the world in a record-breaking solo flight. In 2003, Murray, then age 63, attempted to become the first woman to circle the globe, pole to pole, by helicopter - one of the last great unconquered aviation challenges on earth. After reaching the South Pole, Murray and her co-pilot, Colin Bodill, crashed in Antarctica and their struggle to survive AGAINST THE ODDS began.
"I'm delightfully overwhelmed by the appreciation that Dax and his team have shown towards my story," Murray said. "I hope the film will serve as an inspiration to all that neither age nor gender is an anchor when the human spirit chooses to soar." In addition to achieving three Guinness World Records, Murray has received some of the highest awards in aviation, including the International Harmon Trophy, the Brittania Trophy, and the Brabazon Cup. Her first helicopter, a Robinson R44 Astro (G-MURY), is currently on display at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
"Every once in a while, a story comes along that reminds you of those that inspired you to become a filmmaker in the first place," Phelan said. "Jennifer is a real-life 'wonder woman' and I can't wait to share her extraordinary true story and indomitable spirit with the world on screen. If I had a daughter, this is the kind of film I'd want her to see." Phelan recently adapted Neil White's New York Timesbestseller, "In the Sanctuary of Outcasts", for producer Stratton Leopold (MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE III) and his award-winning feature directorial debut, JASMINE, was released by Indican and Lionsgate last summer.
Phelan served as a co-producer under Frank Marshall (JURASSIC WORLD) and Filip Jan Rymsza (VALLEY OF THE GODS) on Orson Welles's long-awaited final film, THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND, which is being distributed by Netflix and will have its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival.
Phelan's sophomore feature, KIRKWOOD, a domestic thriller in the vein of DIABOLIQUE, which he's also producing with Klein, is currently gearing up for a fall start date in St. Louis, Missouri. Leopold, Terence E. Groves (JASMINE), Len Kloosman (THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND) and James Su (SHE'S LOST CONTROL) are executive producing.
Phelan is represented by Danny Passman at Gang, Tyre, Ramer, & Brown and Terence E. Groves at Maximfilms Australia.