Geeta Anand’s THE CURE inspires the film EXTRAORDINARY MEASURES, starring Brendan Fraser and Harrison Ford

15 January, 2010

Geeta with Harrison Ford

Geeta and Brendan Fraser

Geeta and kids

John, Aileen, Geeta, Greg (Geeta’s husband)

We are having a fantastic start to 2010 with seven exciting books launching in January alone. While we love all of our clients, a special place goes to Geeta Anand this month, the brilliant and beautiful Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative Wall Street Journal reporter. Anand’s book THE CURE: How a Father Raised $100 Million and Bucked the Medical Establishment in a Quest to Save His Children inspired the film, EXTRAORDINARY MEASURES, which opened nationwide on January 22, starring Brendan Fras er and Harrison Ford. Based on the true story of John and Aileen Crowley, parents of two young children who were diagnosed with a rare genetic illness, Pompe disease, the book and the film tell the remarkable story of a race against time to find the cure against insurmountable odds. Refusing to accept the fate that there was no medicine to treat Pompe, and that as a result, their children had only months to live, the Crowleys teamed up with a scientist whose theoretical research indicated that a treatment was possible. The father, played by Brendan Fraser, and the scientist (a composite character), played by Harrison Ford, form an improbable and at times contentious partnership that results in a medical breakthrough that no only saves the lives of the Crowley children, but when administered in infancy, can control the symptoms in others.

Geeta Anand first came to me seven years ago with the seeds of the story that would become the film and the book. She reported on the Crowleys in two front-page stories in the Wall Street Journal, which led to a book proposal, a book sale to publishing’s legendary editor/publisher, Judith Regan at HarperCollins, and an immediate movie sale, which is highly unusual. With the help of one of the most amazing film agents in the business, Howard Sanders at United Talent Agency, a deal was struck with Sony Pictures, with visionary producer Michael Shamberg at the helm, and Harrison Ford.

It took incredible courage for both Judith and the team at Sony to take on the subject of devastating illness and a story that involved an intricate medical and business plot. But those who did commit, including Amy Baer, now President of CBS Films, who ultimately helped to bring the film to the screen, understood that at the heart of the story is a couple who would not accept fate, and the human story of a family that has sought to find the positive in every single day as they strive to give their children as full and rich a life as possible. Today, Megan and Patrick Crowley are doing well. While they will always be in wheelchairs, their organs, which had been seriously compromised by the disease, are functioning well. They are mainstreamed in the public schools in Princeton, NJ, where they live, and they have friends, parties and sleepovers.

HarperCollins has released the paperback edition of THE CURE to coincide with the release of film, and our agency has also licensed editions in Italy, India, Japan and Korea which will be published later this year as the film is distributed internationally.

Congratulations to Geeta Anand, who first brought national attention to the story, and to John Crowley, who we represented for the film deal, and who has been a partner in our publishing venture from the very first day.

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The remarkable story of one father’s struggle to find a cure to save his very sick children, the subject of Geeta Anand’s THE CURE (HarperCollins), comes to the big screen in your neighborhood with the release of EXTRAORDINARY MEASURES, starring Brendan Fraser and Harrison Ford. Anand is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who first reported on the story of John Crowley and his family for The Wall Street Journal.

From THE CURE“I think Aileen wants me to leave, [John] said, his voice hushing slightly. I don’t think I’m the right guy for her. I work all the time. I’m no fun anymore.” Ed thought of Aileen on his last visit—pale and desperate, begging him to make John stay—and couldn’t stop himself from correcting his friend. “I know Aileen doesn’t want you to leave, he said, reassuring but firm. I know Aileen needs you and the kids need you…Maybe you should just set aside your issues…and focus on the kids.” John hung up and sat silently in the parking lot for another hour. He knew what Ed wanted him to do, but he didn’t know what he, John Crowley, wanted to do. Well, that was not entirely true. He did know: he wanted to escape from a life with two sick children and nurses and a wife who seemed in denial that everything was terrible. But was it the right thing to do? John…looked up through the front window and watched the full moon beaming down on his face… Moments later, the car’s engine revved up, and it accelerated out of the driveway onto the interstate—…heading home.