A son of privilege, Sheldon Van Auken (Van) was listless, disconnected and seeking reason to engage adulthood in an America still ravaged by the last waves of the Great Depression. Jean Davis (Davy) was a rebel soul on her own escape from poverty and the rejection of her family. When Van and Davy collide one snowy night, the sparks launch them into an epic story that would inspire millions.
While the world around them descends into the blackness of war, Van and Davy escape into a mutual love that is idyllic and even obsessive. They determine to craft a bond that can never be broken, and resolve to share every memory, good and bad, and to shut out whatever could possibly separate them.
The pair encounter C.S. Lewis on a visit to Oxford, and his humor and wisdom cause them to question their paganism. When Davy is nearly raped in a random attack, she descends into a deep struggle with the reality of the evil of the world. She finds her way out through a profound encounter with the suffering Christ. Her transformation sends Van into a spiral of confusion and anger; as he finds himself the other man in a love-triangle with the Christian God.
As Davy moves into deeper levels of holiness, a vindictive Van plays at sin. Driven by pain and love, Davy makes an offering of her life for Van and soon after she is diagnosed with a fatal illness. Terrified, Van embarks on a frantic spiritual struggle with God for his wife’s life. In the end, Van surrenders Davy into the hands of a God he has gradually come to know as Lord. His friendship with C.S. Lewis helps him to articulate the “severe mercy” that has saved his soul.
Set amidst the terrors of the attack on Pearl Harbor, in the serene blue waters of the Carribbean, and under the ivy bricks of Oxford, A Severe Mercy will be an epic cinematic project. Its universal themes of enduring love and the encounter with life changing transcendence will resound with audiences the world over.
“Origin Entertainment has officially optioned the film rights for the spiritual classic autobiography A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken. The rights, which were acquired for an unreported sum from Harper-Collins Publishers, signal Origin’s intent to begin development on the film as early as January 2013.
A Severe Mercy, which has been enjoyed by millions and published in 7 languages worldwide, is the tale of Van and Davy and their quest for a “more perfect” love. The story highlights the couple’s lifelong friendship with famed author C.S. Lewis, and how their closeness led ultimately to a more perfect understanding of divine love. The publisher describes the book as a “beloved, profoundly moving account of the author’s marriage, the couple’s search for faith and friendship with C.S. Lewis, and a spiritual strength that sustained Vanauken after his wife’s untimely death.”
“This project represents a capstone in our slate,” says Origin founder and Chairman James T. Volk. “Its ideals and values clearly reflect the films we plan to bring to the world.”
Release Date: (DVD) TBA!
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