21 February 2011

Narnia producer and novelist Perry Moore dies at 39

Producer Perry Moore, who died on February 18, was always “enthralled with comic books and superheroes” as he once wrote on his website. And while he was happy to see comic books finally introducing gay superheroes, he always wanted to see them played in a better light. But back in 2005, something disturbed him so much, it sort of forced him to try and change things.

In 1992, the popular X Men series introduced Northstar, a gay member of that elite franchise. When the character was killed off in 2005 by a brainwashed Wolverine, Moore felt the murder of Marvel’s biggest gay character by its most popular one was sending the wrong message.

In 2007, he released Hero, a novel about Thom Creed, a teenager coping with typical teen issues: stress in high school, a strained relationship with his father and his budding superpowers along with his sexual orientation. The novel won the Lambda Literary Award for best novel for young gay and lesbian adults. The book has been in development as a TV series or movie since its publication, but his death will probably mean it will never see the light of day.

While openly gay, Moore was also a Christian and talked publically about it. It is, perhaps, what led him to join Walden Media, created by conservative billionaire Philip Anshutz. The media companies goals were to produce family-friendly movies, TV shows and documentaries. While there, he was in charge of the film I Am David, an adaptation of the Anne Holm novel North to Freedom.

In 2001, he became “instrumental,” as Variety wrote, in acquiring the rights to the C.S. Lewis classic fantasy series The Chronicles of Narnia. Thus, he became the executive producer of three films, including The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian and last years Voyage of the Dawn Treader. It has been reported financing for a fourth film, The Magician’s Nephew, had been secured just prior to his death.

He also co-wrote and co-directed, with his partner Hunter Hill, the 2008 film Lake City, which starred Sissy Spacek, and produced a documentary directed by Spike Jonz on legendary children’s author Maurice Sendak.

A sequel to Hero was begun in 2009, and Moore was planning a new fantasy trilogy called Way of the Wolf. Again, whether any of that will see the light of day, is unknown at this time.

Its been reported that Moore died of a drug overdose in his Greenwich Village apartment, but initial autopsy reports have proven inconclusive. His father has told the press that Moore suffered from back and knee problems which kept him in a lot of pain.

A few media outlets have said, while New York police have ruled out foul play, they reported that the highly addictive pain killer OxyContin was found in the apartment, along with other prescription meds.

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