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The Spurious Sperry Synopsis Slip-up

11 May 2010

[Hat/Tip:  “SW”]

One reader has pointed me to an article about the film, “The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry,” where the director (Rich Christiano) is being interviewed.  Mr. Christiano claims that the film is NOT based on a true story, as I had supposed:

MauB: This film isn’t based on a true story, however your intension is to get viewers to see how one individual can make a difference. How did you come up with the story? Where did the name, Jonathan Sperry, come from?

Rich: Growing up I didn’t have a Jonathan Sperry in my life. I had a good relationship with my parents, but I didn’t have a Jonathan Sperry. I’m not sure how I got this idea. I wanted to make a movie about an older man, just a normal person, and show with his wisdom how we can impact kids. Basically “The Secrets of Jonathan Sperry” could have been called “The Wisdom of Jonathan Sperry.” It started out as an idea about this seventy-five year old man who starts talking to these three twelve year old boys to motivate them to read the Bible and follow the Lord. I wanted to set it in a small town. I grew up in a small town in upper New York and that’s where we filmed it. I wanted the double-decker houses, I wanted the sidewalks, the simple lifestyle. There are some elements in the film from my childhood. For example my two best friends growing up were Albert and Mark and so I used their names.

I see now that, based on the epilogue and some of Gavin MacLeod’s statements, it really appeared to me at the time that the film was based on a true story. 

Know what?  I don’t like the film as much anymore.  I have a strong feeling that there are tons of real stories about urban missionary, waiting to be told.  And the theme of a few people making a difference, would fit just as nicely. 


– Elder

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