In July of 2007 I attend Robert Heinlein's 100th birthday party, otherwise known as the Heinlein Centennial, in Kansas City. There we met again, after she made a presentation about her plan and hope to create a short film featuring a zero-gravity dance. I asked her if I could help. I was looking for a new project and wanted to explore making a version of Stardance into an IMAX film. We hit it off and started working together on the project.
I won't recount the last three years for you - you can read through this blog from the beginning to get the gist. I'll just tell you that in the last three years Jeanne and I became very close friends. The last time I saw her in person was in January of 2009, just before she was diagnosed with Cancer – and just when we decided to forget IMAX and develop Stardance into a feature screenplay.
We had been working long distance, via skype and phone since then, making and postponing plans to get together as Jeanne rode the roller-coaster of treatment and recovery, relapse and more treatment. Our progress on the screenplay suffered as well, partially due to my loss of a collaborator much of the time as well as having painted ourselves into a corner adapting such a sprawling work into a filmable form. A few months ago we brought in author and screenwriter David Gerrold to ply his expertise to the project. Two weeks ago, David and I presented Jeanne with a new version of the story, and the first pages of the new version of the screenplay.
This was her response...
Dear David and James,
I’ve read the treatment, and I’m in awe. Applause, applause! It works on so many levels. You’ve distilled our over-sized opus into a manageable work of art that reads like a dream. It makes sense. It flows. It’s a page-turner. It’s fresh (even though the idea has been floating around for decades). What more can I say -- except deep bows of gratitude and love. Words can’t reach it. I’m just so happy to be sitting here -- overflowing with hope at this challenging moment in time. All thanks to you.
As you all know by now, Jeanne passed away Sunday afternoon (May 30th) at 4:45 PM Pacific Time. She is dancing free of this earth, free from the confines of body and gravity, and I am sure she is watching over all of us. David and I will finish the screenplay in her honor - and do our damnedest to get the thing made.
We love you , Jeanne.
Here are some moments I was privileged to share with Jeanne.
Spider sings to Jeanne in their home on Bowen Island. (The song he wrote to woo her shortly after they met.)