An inspirational and triumphant film about the power of the human spirit, Peaceful Warrior is the incredible true story based on Dan Millman's bestselling novel. A gifted young athlete, bound for Olympic gold, Dan has it all: trophies, talent, and all the women he wants. But after a life-changing event, Dan comes to rely on Socrates (Nick Nolte), a mysterious stranger, and Joy (Amy Smart), an elusive young woman, to teach him the secret to overcome incredible odds and tap into new worlds of strength and understanding. Hailed by celebrities and critics alike, Peaceful Warrior is "an inspiring film that could change lives." - Sting
Interview With Dan Millman, author of The Way of the Peaceful Warrior
Dan Millman, the author of Way of the Peacful Warrior: A Book That Changes Lives, took the time to answer a few questions for us about the making of the film, the creation of a new genre, and five movies that you should see.
Many writers have found the process of getting their books onto the screen to be frustrating, for many reasons, usually dealing with creative issues. How did you find the whole process? How much control over the final script did you have?
Novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald, who was drafted into screenwriting, once suggested, "Any authors interested in seeing their work adapted to the screen should stand at the California border, throw their manuscript in the direction of Hollywood, and run the other way." This sentiment may be good advice for authors who expect or insist that all their precious narrative and dialogue be transferred directly to the screen. I understood, going in, that adapting a book to film is like turning a painting into a sculpture -- changes are sometimes necessary and even desirable. Once film rights were sold, I had (like most authors) no control over script, casting, or any other aspect of the film-making process--but I was able to at least achieve some influence with the producers and director based on earned credibility. I served as a consultant, offering notes along the way. The director also incorporated about ten pages of material from an earlier script I had written. But overall, the process was an exercise in letting go and getting out of the way. It seems we're seeing a wave of positive-thought/spritually based work in literature and movies lately, for example, The Secret, The Celestine Prophecy, and What the Bleep Do We Know. Is this a temporary fad or do you see this as a larger cultural shift?
There are apparently millions of people today who find comfort in metaphysical and so-called "quantum" ideas that promise to help them attract all manner of good things by intending, focusing or thinking positively. The Peaceful Warrior's way is a call to move from wishful thinking to constructive action. In other words, it's fine to have big dreams, but our lives are shaped by what we actually do, moment to moment. The smallest good deed surpasses the grandest good intention. As Thomas Edison wrote, "Most people miss opportunity because it's dressed in overalls and looks like work." Let's keep our head in the clouds but our feet on the ground. )Who exactly was Socrates? What can you tell us about the actual person he's based on? And how did Nick Nolte come into this role? Way of the Peaceful Warrior
provides a glimpse of life's bigger picture through a story that blends autobiographical material and fictional elements. I did meet an old service station mechanic about three a.m. on a starry morning. And I did call him "Socrates." He impacted my life not only with his words, but with the light in his eyes and the way he carried himself - and he became the archetypal Mentor described in my book. As to how Nick Nolte came to play the role (quite brilliantly) -- that was simply a conjunction of the stars, of timing and fortune, along with the good casting sense of the director and producers. I'm glad it turned out that way.
What are your thoughts on the final cut of the movie?
When my wife and I saw an early screening of the film, I was both moved and relieved. It was not an easy adaptation. The screenwriter, director and producers made some choices different from mine, but I enjoyed the result. Every film, like every person, has both flaws and virtues. In my view, the virtues of Peaceful Warrior
outweigh any flaws. Although the movie covers only the first two-thirds of the book -- leaving out the most important part of the story -- it still manages to capture the spirit of the book, and to offer wisdom that can impact the lives of those who view it. Peaceful Warrior
reflects a new genre -- "cinema with substance" -- transformational film.. This is being billed as "a movie that changes lives." What are five movies you would recommend that, in your opinion, change lives?
The subtitle of the book, based on reader feedback, is "A book that changes lives." Universal Pictures adapted this for the film as well. If any film can change lives, it does so by providing stories and role models that expand perspectives about what is important in our lives, and about the human spirit. Although others might come up with quite a different list, here are a few films that I consider examples of transformational film: It's a Wonderful Life
; Groundhog Day
; To Kill a Mockingbird
; Twelve Angry Men
. There are many more; hundreds more. But these films in some way call us to living with a peaceful heart and a warrior spirit - to live with courage and love, to stand tall even when we stand alone, to do what is right and speak and live our truth. This is what the peaceful warrior's way is all about.