First, please make sure you read FOXTROT this week. Kudos, Bill Amend!
Second, thank God for The New York Times. Thanks to Writers Net and Backspace regular Rozinante for posting this link, and for ongoing commentary about this topic.
Third, this post, written by Writers Net regular Mya Bell (and posted here with her permission), was quite fascinating to me:
I just discovered the movie has been in the works much longer than I realized. Oprah must have known about the production before recommending the book.
TheZreview.co.uk announced Warner Bros.' acquisition of film rights on 29 May 2003:
"Warner Bros. have picked up the rights to the autobiography by James Frey called A Million Little Pieces. They have charged Frey with writing the screenplay for the movie will production company Plan B producing. The book
centres on Frey's drug addiction."
The Internet Movie Database (imbd.com) listed the production on 30 Sept. 2004 (the same day there was an announcement in Variety, I believe) as follows:
Directed by Laurence Dunmore
Writing credits James Frey (memoir)
Plot Outline: A young drug-addled writer approaching the bottom of his descent submits to two months of agonizing detox at a treatment center in Minnesota.
Comments: In development
Elston Gunn's Weekly Recap from 6 Oct. 2004 lists it as follows:
"* Laurence Dunmore (upcoming THE LIBERTINE) will direct A MILLION LITTLE PIECES, based on the book by James Frey, for Warner Bros. Pictures. The story is described as a first-person nonfiction account of a man's recovery from a nearly fatal addiction to drugs and desperate living. Plan B and John Wells are producing."
On 2 Nov. 2004, LauraK mentioned on the Jennifer Aniston forum that Frey's screenplay was done. I don't know if this is a reliable source.
Later, it was announced that Mark Romanek would be directing (rather than Laurence Dunmore).
Hollywood.com is still listing this as a true story:
"Based on the true events in the life of James Frey, the story is an honest portrayal of the destruction and reconstruction of the life of a recovering drug addict. Story depicts in great detail his attempt to get clean, battling his counselors every step of the way."
Sam's Club hasn't amended their book listing even after all the controversy:
"... A Million Little Pieces is an uncommonly genuine account of a life destroyed and a life reconstructed."
I also came across a poster who said negative comments regarding the book had been removed from Oprah's forum.
--- Mya Bell
Mya, thanks so much for sniffing out this information. As she mentions on Writers Net, "If there are people seeking to confirm or deny it or to round out the picture further, we might all get a better understanding of it."