Definitely a must-see movie involving the developmentally-challenged son.
(Bedtime Story to a Book to TV Movie)
Hallmark Hall of Fame Presents A Dog Named Christmas
Bruce Greenwood, Linda Emond, Noel Fisher Star; Movie Premieres Nov. 29 on CBS
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (Oct. 26, 2009) — Bruce Greenwood (Star Trek) plays George McCray, Linda Emond (Julie & Julia) plays his wife Mary Ann, and Noel Fisher (The Riches) plays their son Todd in the 237th Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation, A Dog Named Christmas. Based on Greg Kincaid’s novel, the special premieres on CBS Sunday, Nov. 29, 2009, 9-11 p.m. ET/PT.
The McCray family is anticipating a happy – if uneventful – Christmas on their Kansas farm, when an unexpected visitor enters their family. Todd – the McCray’s 20-year-old developmentally-challenged son – hears that the local animal shelter is looking for families to foster a pet for the holidays, hoping that some will be permanently adopted.
Todd’s father, George, is firmly opposed to bringing a dog into the McCray household, either temporarily or permanently. George says he’s concerned that Todd won’t be able to adequately care for the dog, and that it will be traumatic for him to return the animal to the shelter after Christmas.
The real reason for George’s stubborn refusal? Bruce Greenwood says, “He’s had two dogs in his life that he loved deeply, one when he was a child, the other when he was serving in Vietnam. Both experiences ended badly, wounded George psychologically, and he’s afraid the same thing will happen again, this time involving his son.” Mary Ann, George’s insightful wife, understands. Linda Emond says, “Mary Ann starts out feeling that a foster dog would be a great thing for her challenged son Todd, but pretty quickly comes to realize that a dog would actually be a great thing for her husband, George. Mary Ann knows that George is – in his own way – a wounded animal, and that bringing a dog into their home could be a real gift, a real agent of healing.”
A Dog Named Christmas is directed by Peter Werner (Front of the Class), from a teleplay by Jenny Wingfield (Man in the Moon). Brent Shields (The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler) is the executive producer; Andrew Gottlieb (The Russell Girl) is the producer.
According to Werner, “You’d think, by the title, A Dog Named Christmas, that this story is primarily about a dog. I don’t think it really is. I think it’s about George McCray, who’s been deeply wounded emotionally in his life, first in his childhood, later on by going to war [in Vietnam], in incidents involving the loss of beloved animals. He’s shut down a certain part of himself. Not consciously, of course, but deep within.”
A Dog Named Christmas started its journey to television as a short bedtime story Greg Kincaid wrote for his children. The five-page story eventually grew in length and narrative detail to a bestselling book published by Random House, Inc.
Kincaid, a Kansas lawyer who lives on a farm that’s been in his family for five generations, said that he added a theme “that had lingered in the back of my mind for a long time.” That theme, he says, is that “While it’s great that we humans tend to treat each other with a little more kindness at Christmastime, what about the millions of pets sitting in animal shelters every Christmas? Couldn’t they be the beneficiaries of some human kindness, too?”
Thus was born the concept of “fostering-a-pet-for-the-holidays,” which Kincaid is hoping – inspired by the Hallmark Hall of Fame telecast – will spread to shelters and communities throughout the country.
“At any point in time,” he says, “there are about 4 million dogs in shelters across America. Our expectations with the holiday fostering program are modest. If just one percent of those dogs found loving homes, we’d be saving 40,000 dogs. That would make a difference.”
A Dog Named Christmas is from Hallmark Hall of Fame Productions, Inc.
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