Andrew Steel To Star In The Wishing Man As Frank Shankwitz Creator of The Make-A Wish Foundation.
Christian Ganiere will play Michael the 7 year-old boy with terminal leukemia that inspired Frank to start the Make a Wish Foundation.
The Wish Man tells the true story of a motorcycle cop who is still haunted by the traumatic separation from his father when he was a boy. After surviving a near-fatal accident and being framed for police brutality, his whole world falls apart. Unexpectedly, he finds hope in the shape of a terminally ill boy who reunites him with his father after 28 years. To honor the boy, he creates the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
The film is produced by Greg S. Reid, and executive produced by Marc Gold. Bob Ziembicki who was the production designer of Academy Award winning Boogie Nights is the Production Designer. With The Wishing Man set predominantly in 1980, he was chosen by the producers to recreate the world of Arizona in this period. Casting is in the hands of Helen McCready, who is based part-time in Arizona, with access to the best of the local talent.
Theo Davies says: “This is not just the story of the man who started the most celebrated children’s charity the world has ever seen. It is also an edgy and often dark portrayal of a highway patrol motorcycle cop who must overcome his traumatic past in order to find happiness, peace and salvation. In terms of lighting and cinematography, the film will have a warm, nostalgic look, akin to No Country For Old Men and Hell or High Water and we will always use natural light as our main source. I want to show the world of Prescott, Arizona and its beautiful surroundings exactly as they are. The Wishing Man is a truly American story that depicts the life of a loner, a drinker, a womanizer but also one hell of a cop, who through the many trials and tribulations life throws at him, is able to come out the other side having created something beautiful and inspiring.”
Greg S. Reid says: “During a book interview with Frank, I asked him: “As the man who created the Make-A-Wish foundation, what’s YOUR wish?” Frank’s response surprised me: “Nobody’s ever asked me that before.” Frank explained that his only wish was for his story to be told, so his grandchildren would know he did something special in his life. Frank signed over his life story rights and the journey began. This is the kind of story the world desperately needs right now and it goes to show that one simple act of kindness can have a ripple effect.
Marc Gold added: “This is a theatrical movie with incredible potential to be the standout indie film of 2018. We also believe that in this modern world of uncertainty and evil, we can inspire our audiences with a strong message of hope. We can all make a difference.”
Frank Shankwitz Story – The Journey to Creating The Make-A-Wish Foundation
It’s 1952. Frank Shankwitz, 10, lives with his mother Lorraine in a trailer in rural Michigan. Lorraine and Frank’s father, Frank Sr., are separated with joint custody of Frank. In an attempt to deny Frank Sr. seeing Frank, Lorraine kidnaps the boy and takes him to Arizona. For father and son, their worlds are torn apart. With no idea about Frank’s whereabouts, Frank Sr. faces the impossible task of finding his son. Lorraine and Frank settle in Seligman, Arizona, on Route 66. She works as a hotel maid and Frank washes dishes in a diner. Her unhinged personality creates conflict with some locals and she’s forced to move away. Luis, the wacky owner of the Snow Cap diner, takes Frank under his wing and he stays in Seligman.
28 years later. It’s 1980, Frank is 38 years-old and lives in Prescott, Arizona. He’s a motorcycle Highway Patrolman with an impeccable record, but he’s also a loner, a drinker and a womanizer, still scarred by his traumatic childhood. One night, Frank pulls over a drunk driver. A fight ensues with Frank fighting for his life. He arrests the suspects but volatile Tom Wells (Frank’s partner for the night), beats one of them so badly he almost kills him. The following night, on duty with rookie Mitch Myers, Frank has a horrific accident during a high speed pursuit and stops breathing for 3 minutes. He’s pronounced dead, but Sally, a passerby, performs CPR and miraculously Frank wakes up.
With a skull fracture and weeks of recovery ahead of him, Frank is sent home with new police secretary Kitty Carlisle, assigned to be his nurse. They get off on the wrong foot, both reluctant to accept their patient/nurse roles. Frank’s new life is fraught with physical and psychological pain, with many unanswered questions about why he survived his fatal crash.
Sgt. Eddie Newman (Chief of Police), is informed that Michael, a 7 year-old boy with terminal leukemia, wants to visit the department. Michael is obsessed with the TV show CHIPS and his dream is to meet a real motorcycle cop. As part of his rehabilitation, Kitty recommends that Frank oversee Michael’s visit. Frank is reluctant but after relating Michael’s painful existence to his own anguished childhood, he accepts. Internal Affairs demand a meeting with Frank to discuss the beating incident. Under suspicious circumstances, there are different accounts of the events that night, which contradict Frank’s report.
During Michael’s police department visit, his strength and bravery ignites something in Frank. Remembering how heart-broken he was when he was taken from his father, Frank vows to be there for Michael during the last few days of his life. Frank, and several other officers, give Michael a custom made police uniform and badge. One final gift Frank wants to give Michael personally is a set of silver wings.
In a second meeting with Internal Affairs, Frank discovers he’s the target of corruption, aimed at removing Tom Wells from the investigation. With Frank’s consummate reputation, he’s the ideal sacrificial lamb. Hoping to keep Tom Wells and Frank on the force, Sgt. Mason offers Frank a plea bargain, where he will receive a suspension and a blemish on his record. Frank rejects the offer and he’s suspended.
Michael falls into a coma. Frank visits the boy, and as he attaches the silver wings to his uniform, he wakes up. Michael is able to thank Frank for granting his final wish. Later that evening, Michael passes away. With Frank’s police brutality hearing imminent, his suspension underway but no income to pay for an attorney, Mitch recommends good friend and practicing lawyer, James Fisher. Sgt. Newman ignores Mason’s demands that Frank shouldn’t attend Michael’s funeral because of his suspension and the negative press it could generate. Eddie sends Frank and Mitch to Illinois to honor the boy anyway.
Frank Sr. is now an elderly man, living in Chicago with his second wife, Ellen. He sees an article about Michael in the paper with a photograph of ‘Officer Frank Shankwitz of the Arizona Highway Patrol’. Knowing it must be his son, Frank Sr. calls the Highway Patrol and Kitty answers. She and Mitch make arrangements and finally, Frank is reunited with his father after 28 years. James Fisher visits the house of the drunken female suspect whose boyfriend was beaten. With a hidden tape recorder in his briefcase, Fisher extracts enough evidence to clear Frank’s name and reinstate him in the Highway Patrol. At a police dinner to celebrate Frank’s promotion to Homicide Detective, Frank announces his idea to start a foundation in Michael’s honor. Michael helped grant Frank’s childhood wish – to be with his father. Now, it’s Frank’s turn to help other children grant their wishes – by starting the Make-A-Wish foundation.
About Marc Gold
Executive Producer Marc Gold founded Fresh Cats Entertainment in 2009 as a film funding company. In 2015, Fresh Cats expanded into production financing and produced 3 feature films in 2016. He’s currently working on a slate of 8 films, with plans to produce them through mid-2018. Marc is also a US veteran and has over 25 years’ experience in real estate financing.
About Theo Davies, writer- director
After directing an award-winning short film starring Charlie Cox (Daredevil, Boardwalk Empire), Theo Davies moved to Southern California to pursue his film-making career. He directed 5 Hour Friends, starring Tom Sizemore, which was distributed worldwide by Paramount Pictures.
About Greg S. Reid
Producer, Greg S. Reid, is an international best-selling author, film-maker and founder of the Forbes top-rated event for entrepreneurs, Secret Knock. He is a master storyteller who was entrusted by the Napoleon Hill foundation to continue his legacy by travelling the globe, meeting the most successful people from every field and sharing their stories with the world.
Since its creation in 1980, the Make-A-Wish foundation has granted the wishes of more than 400,000 children in 50 countries worldwide. It is the world’s largest wish-granting organization.
Michael Cowan’s Phoenix Worldwide Entertainment is handling worldwide sales on The Wishing Man, based on the true story and life of Frank Shankwitz – creator of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Principal photography is set for 14th August shoot in Prescott and Seligman, Arizona. The film will be helmed by English born up-and-coming writer/director Theo Davies and to star Andrew Steel as Frank Shankwitz.