Inquire Within: Moving the “Zoo” From England to California

Posted by Greg on August 24, 2011 at 7:41 am
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Welcome to another edition of Inquire Within… Through your submissions, Cameron will answer your questions in his own words. The goal is to have a new question and answer posting every few weeks leading up to the releases of Pearl Jam Twenty and We Bought a Zoo this fall and The Union early next year.

The Uncool: Why did you decide to rework the location in We Bought A Zoo from England to Southern California?

Cameron: The story was set in Boston when I first read Aline’s script, and she really made it sing as a universal story.  I watched Benjamin Mee’s BBC documentary, and read his great book a few times and knew that Ben’s story (while very much set in the UK) was largely a personal one.  I also knew a ton of places in “inner” California that felt like my “Dartmoor”… places that felt far removed and would support a struggling zoo.  Then we found the Greenfield Ranch location, outside Westlake Village, and we all fell in love with the property.  Plus, I wanted to work with Matt Damon, and I think he gets things done pretty well with his natural accent… so we started casting American actors, reading with them, setting the story here in California… and the real Benjamin Mee gave us a thumbs up… and that’s a mighty thumbs up.  We filmed in “out of the way” California, places that don’t normally turn up in the movies.  (Though Jamie Foxx had a place in the hills across the way and the rumor was he was tracking our movie through binoculars.  Hey Jamie!)

Please send in your Pearl Jam Twenty questions for Cameron and maybe yours will be part of a future installment of Inquire Within…


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  • On August 24, 2011 at 7:39 pm pbs said

    I’m hearing great advance word on the movie – reallly looking forward to it!


  • On August 25, 2011 at 12:20 am Johnkanestudios said

    Will you sign my Rolling Stone??


  • On August 25, 2011 at 2:45 am Sandi Banister said

    when will you come to San Diego and visit JM and I, Cameron?  I would love to have you on our morning show.  


  • On September 5, 2011 at 2:26 pm Allenraymartin said

    My son trevor flew to a callback meeting with cameron crowe and said it was a great time meeting him. Thanks for the opportunity to talk with you. Cant wait for the film to come out, will be a little sad he didnt get the role, but happy about the process. He hopes to work with you. Keep making films.


  • On November 27, 2011 at 2:21 am Vau55 said

    just saw the movie with my family – great story!  I would see it again.  Hoping for much success.


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