Dalai Lama Endorses Film About Buddha

By Jamie Painter Young, Backstage.com, September 12, 2006

Los Angeles, USA -- What's the next Hollywood epic? If the producers at M Films have their way, it will be a biopic on the life of Buddha.

In an effort to promote the project, the as-of-yet unproven production company M Films hosted a luncheon at the Peninsula Hotel on Beverly Hills on Sept. 11 to enlighten some of Hollywood's lead entertainment and business executives, talent, and members of the press about its first feature project, currently in development.

What drew most of the 75-plus guests in attendance--including Sharon Stone, Robert Downey Jr., Laurence Fishburne, and Goldie Hawn--was the chance to hear from the event's keynote speaker, the Dalai Lama, who offered his endorsement of the movie project.

While speaking in broken English and with the help of a translator at times, the 14th Dalai Lama made his point clear: Hollywood has the power to affect the world through cinema, and a film about the life of Buddha has the potential to inspire compassion, something sorely lacking but needed in our society, said His Holiness. "From Buddha's life story, maybe you'll get inspiration," he said. "Our intention is not the propagation of Buddhism, but helping the world."

So far, M Films has roped in Hollywood producer Michael Shane, whose executive producing credits include I, Robot and Catch Me If You Can. Shane was on hand at the luncheon to greet guests and to share his enthusiasm for the project.

Also speaking was Zen Master and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Thich Nhat Hanh, whose book Old Path White Clouds is being adapted for the biopic. "It is a manual for the practice of peace," Hanh said of his book, which MCorpGlobal, the parent company of M Films, has bought exclusive film rights to.

According to the company's website (http://mcorpglobal.com/), MCorpGlobal estimates the cost of this project to be $120 million. David S. Ward (The Sting, Sleepless in Seattle) is attached as the screenwriter. No director or actors are attached at this time.