• HBO gets the shot ready.
    HBO gets the shot ready.

It is the true life story of Temple Grandin, a woman born with autism who went on to become one of the country’s leading experts on animal behavior.

Grandin earned her undergraduate degree from Franklin Pierce College (now Franklin Pierce University) in New Hampshire. She earned a master’s degree in animal science from Arizona State University and Ph.D. in animal science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She currently is a professor at Colorado State University and a noted leader in both the animal welfare and autism advocacy movements. She used her insight into the minds of cattle to help design more humane slaughterhouses. Livestock handling facilities she has designed are used worldwide to help reduce stress on animals during handling.

Grandin is the author of several books, including “Thinking in Pictures and Other Reports from My Life with Autism” (1996) and the New York Times bestseller “Animals in Translation: Using the Mysteries of Autism to Decode Animal Behavior“(2005).

Most of the scenes from Grandin’s undergraduate days will be filmed at Southwestern. These include a shot of her mother dropping her off at college, a scene where she gets called to the dean’s office, a classroom scene and her college graduation. The scenes at Southwestern will be filmed in the Cullen Building and Mood-Bridwell Hall. Other scenes from the movie will be filmed at various locations throughout Central Texas.

A casting call for the movie was held at Southwestern Sept. 17, and many Southwestern students will get roles as extras in the movie.

The movie will be directed by Mick Jackson, who also has directed the 1992 movie “The Bodyguard (1992), the television series “Numb3rs,” and the 2002 HBO movie “Live From Bagdad.”

The role of Temple Grandin in the movie will be played by Claire Danes, who won a Golden Globe Award in 1995 for her part in the television series “My So-Called Life.” The leading male role will be played by David Strathairn, who played Edward R. Murrow in the 2005 movie “Good Night and Good Luck.”

The movie is expected to air on HBO in May 2009.

Two great danes owned by 1979 Southwestern graduate Lisa Pelosi Butterfield also are being used in the movie to portray dogs owned by one of Grandin’s mentors, Dr. Carlock. The dogs participated in a day of filming in Bastrop during which Butterfield had the opportunity to meet David Straithairn, who plays the role of Carlock in the movie.





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