Honora couple writes screenplay based on life of Danny Dodge

Tom Sasvari

The Recorder

MANITOULIN—A Honora Bay couple, well known for their past work with the Gore Bay Summer Theatre, have written a movie screenplay based on the life of Danny Dodge.

“It’s done, the screenplay is 120 pages,” stated John Hawke who, along with his wife Deborah Wilson, finished writing the story almost a year ago and are now awaiting a financial backer to have the story put on the big screen.

Although the couple hasn’t been active in the theatre as of late, the couple has certainly been busy finishing the screenplay and having small parts in four movies over the past year or so, including ‘The Truth’ which was cast and shot in Sudbury recently.

“All this time we have been writing the script for the screenplay, with Deb and I taking turns writing some some of the script and dialogue,” said Mr. Hawke. He explained the idea for writing a movie screenplay on Danny Dodge had come after they had visited the Centennial Museum of Sheguiandah. “Originally when we visited the museum we came upon some newspaper clippings and the story of Danny Dodge. We thought at first about staging a play, but then we got caught up in the idea of turning it into a movie.”

“We dug up and reprinted all the information we could to make the screenplay about Danny Dodge,” said Mr. Hawke. “We had talked to Rick Nelson, curator of the Billings Museum about our idea and he also provided us with a whole bunch of information on the life of Danny Dodge, newspaper clippings, stories, photos along with a few books written about the Dodge family.”

He noted that Rosalie Chilelli of Edge Enterprises, a person who had hired the couple for background parts in one of the movies they have appeared in, talked to them about their idea for the movie based on the life of Danny Dodge, and she not only has a copy of the script, but is also looking into finding financial backers for the movie to be produced. “I don’t know if it will ever happen, but it would be worth the effort,” said Mr. Hawke.

Mr. Hawke also pointed out other other movie producers have also been contacted about doing the moving. “It would certainly be a big deal if someone shot a movie on the Island, using Kagawong, Little Current, Gore Bay, Mindemoya and the North Channel.”

“The screenplay is based on the Danny Dodge story from the time he was seven-years-old until the time a little past his passing in a tragic accident,” said Mr. Hawke. “We take it from the time he and his family came to Manitoulin Island for vacations, from Michigan, and the family acquiring the Dodge Lodge from Helen Ford.”

He has also talked to Bernie Schwarzli, who currently owns the Dodge lodge in Kagawong. “When I originally talked to Rick (Nelson) he said Bernie and his wife are very private people,” but after contact information was passed between the two, “he emailed me saying he was interested in allowing people to come and shoot scenes at the lodge. I’m going to Toronto and he wants to get together to discuss the idea.”

“I know Rick (Nelson) is pumping things up on the screenplay being made into a movie,” said Mr. Hawke. “What we need now is investors who would be interested in financing the movie.”

“This has been an interesting journey, and we’re excited the way it has gone so far,” said Mr. Hawke. “I would love to see the movie made and it would be great to have it shot on the Island.”