Heading to the fall, few first-time feature filmmakers have as much clout as Ned Benson, whose ambitious romantic drama The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby will arrive in three different forms in the coming months (Them, which condenses the story of a relationship by using both viewpoints, arrives in September, to be followed by Him and Her, a duology telling the same story one perspective at a time). And despite all the work that went into that project, the up-and-comer isn’t resting on his laurels until Eleanor Rigby hits theaters – news has emerged that he’s just been hired by The Weinstein Company to rewrite its Starbucks movie, tentatively titled How Starbucks Saved My Life.
Based on the memoir of the same name by Michael Gates Gill, How Starbucks Saved My Life will tell the story of an advertising executive who, after losing his job and family, takes a job at Starbucks. While working in the coffee shop, he befriends its young manager and eventually comes to greater revelations about life and love.
Benson is not directing, though that could be a possibility down the road. He’s working from a script by Robert Nelson Jacobs (Chocolat), who began writing the adaptation last July. The project has been in the works for ten years, but no reason has been given for why it took so long for the title to get traction at TWC.
How Starbucks Saved My Life was a surprising, involving read, and it’s exciting to see that a film adaptation is back on track. For those who haven’t read Gill’s memoir, here’s the Amazon synopsis:
In his fifties, Michael Gates Gill had it all: a mansion in the suburbs, a wife and loving children, a six-figure salary, and an Ivy League education. But in a few short years, he lost his job, got divorced, and was diagnosed with a brain tumor. With no money or health insurance, he was forced to get a job at Starbucks. Having gone from power lunches to scrubbing toilets, from being served to serving, Michael was a true fish out of water.
But fate brings an unexpected teacher into his life who opens his eyes to what living well really looks like. The two seem to have nothing in common: She is a young African American, the daughter of a drug addict; he is used to being the boss but reports to her now. For the first time in his life he experiences being a member of a minority trying hard to survive in a challenging new job. He learns the value of hard work and humility, as well as what it truly means to respect another person.
Behind the scenes at one of America’s most intriguing businesses, an inspiring friendship is born, a family begins to heal, and, thanks to his unlikely mentor, Michael Gill at last experiences a sense of self-worth and happiness he has never known before.