published on Monday, April 19, 2010|
Who would be the voice of the bees, we wondered? For our US version we wanted to find an actress who genuinely cared about honeybees and their message. We didnt want someone who wanted to narrate our film simply because it was a "green" gig that made them look good.
Alas, in this modern society, a celebrity helps ensure that your product is seen by the mainstream. Raising awareness about the importance of the bees was worth that much to us. There are many out there who have yet to discover that bees are more than stinging insects that produce honey. Three years ago, I was one of those people. Now I realize that they are crucial to our existence as they pollinate one in every three bites of the food we eat. They bring sweetness of life in so many ways.
George and I also wanted a female because well, the bees are a sister society. Naturally, the voice would be womanly. I prayed to find her, and uttered a mantra that Ive developed over the years whenever weve needed help be it to find our characters or receive much needed funds. Please bees, please bees, please bees. As I did this, I envisioned a swarm of gentle bees visiting the actress in her dreams or in her garden.
Not long after, we found out that Scarlett Johanson was a bee lover. In fact Samuel Jackson had gifted her a hive for her wedding day. Immediately we called her publicist and soon after sent over a copy of the film. Meanwhile, I tore out pages of her from fashion magazines, posing for Dolce & Gabbana and Mango and affixed them to my peg board. Please bees, please bees, please bees, I muttered. Scarlett was indeed interested. Oh Joy! But not sufficiently. She was interested enough to take her away from her Broadway debut. She was too busy rehearsing for Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge.
If she truly cared about the bees, she would have made sure the project was hers. In my world, I have no choice, i am at service to their message, I posited to George. I continued praying. She would be moved to tears. She would be humbled. Who could she possibly bee? After a local fundraiser, my friend Peter asked for a copy of the film. Unbeknownst to us he was taking it to his friend Leonardo DiCaprio.
On movie set of Inception a few weeks later, Ellen got upset at the clapper who swatted and killed a bee. You should meet my friend Peter, he was saving bees out of my pool last week, her co-star Leonardo joked. Peter and Ellen met and he was moved to give her the film. She cried while seeing our UK version. And soon after we met in a restaurant in Larchmont Village in Los Angeles. George and I were blown away by Ellen. She was personable and humble and smart. She got it! She got how important the film is and how her 'starpower' could help raise awareness and educate. She knew all about Michael Pollan, who is in our film, and is a fan of permaculture and sustainability.
The bees and the universe magnetized her to us. How divine! We are thrilled to have Ellen as our narrator. Thank you bees. thank you bees and thank you Peter.