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'We Bought a Zoo'

This upcoming film by Cameron Crowe and starring Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson is based on the true story of a bloke called Benjamin Mee who bought our local zoo (Dartmoor Zoo, just outside Plymouth). We asked him to come along to the You're Hired! final to be our guest speaker, and he was brilliant. (Unfortunately I missed most of his talk because the guest speaker is basically there to occupy the contestants while the judges are deciding on the winners. I did speak to him later, and he's keen to get involved more in this year's competition. We're even thinking of holding the final there next summer.

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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
lil_shepherd
Sep. 15th, 2011 08:10 am (UTC)
I remember seeing a documentary on him - I'm pretty sure his wife was in her last few months of life when it was made - in which it was clear the zoo was in a bit of trouble. Has it come through?
philmophlegm
Sep. 15th, 2011 09:50 pm (UTC)
It's still going, but it's still a little touch and go as far as I know. It was neglected by its previous owner (a local eccentric who ran it on a shoestring). You can't really run a zoo on a shoestring. Not when you have lions and tigers.

They need all the help they can get to be honest. It's staggering just how many locals don't even know that there is a zoo in Plymouth. Publicity from the film should help. And maybe You're Hired! can help a little. He did the guest speaker talk* at short notice and for no fee, so I'd love to pay him back.


* Way to get people's attention: "Here's a photo of me with Matt Damon - he'll be playing me."
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