Christian the Lion headed for the big screen

Okay, I confess — I’m one of those millions who just can’t get enough of this almost 40-year-old true story about Christian the Lion and the YouTube video that helped bring about its resurrection.

My obsession, however, was further fed last night when the Animal Planet channel aired its hour-long television special A Lion Called Christian featuring clips and narrative (and oh-so-much-more) from the original Christian the Lion documentary film, Christian the Lion (The Lion Who Thought He Was People) made by Bill Travers.

But, the Animal Planet channel didn’t stop there.

Recognizing one hungry audience, they served up the best hors d’oeuvres fit for a king’s pride: Christian the Lion Videos from the documentary; Christian the Lion Pictures, Christian the Lion Puzzles, the first chapter from the Christian the Lion book, and, in what I expect will draw even more interest, a Christian the Lion Movie Site where fans can cast votes on the upcoming feature film’s preferred theme song, who’s going to play Ace Bourke and John Rendall, who will direct, and even marketing campaigns for the film’s trailer. (Sony Pictures has begun the process of acquiring rights to the book, and though negotiations are in the early stages, we all know they know a good thing when they see it.)

Sure, I’ll admit I’d hoped for a feature film and had even given thought to who might portray Bourke and Rendall, but in this day of numerous Facebook quizzes where users cite top television series and films and recording artists, I still found the Animal Planet survey worthy of each and every click. After all, I’m already vested in this story; Christian has laid claim to a big part of my heart.

Of the five categories where visitors may vote (Theme Song, Casting John Rendall, Casting Ace Bourke, Director, and Marketing Campaign), I differed in the majority choice in all but one — the marketing campaign for the film’s trailer — but then, that one is/was pretty much a given. Its most popular answer lies in those numbers on the YouTube videos…millions of universal hearts gathered there, indeed.

If you missed the not-to-miss Animal Planet documentary on Christian and Ace and John, take heed: it will air again on Thursday, April 9, at 6 pm CST and on April 10 at 1 a.m. CST. Be sure to check your own local listings — this you don’t want to miss.

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