Farrah’s Story, the 2009 made for TV movie that documented Farrah Fawcett’s battle with cancer, violated many of the guidelines laid out by the ailing star during the planning of the project. According to business partner Craig Nevius, NBC had taken over creative control of the project and steered it in directions that while resulted in a popular hit, conflicted with how Farrah Fawcett wanted the movie to present her battle.
In what appears to be a squabble between various people close to Farrah, NBC turned over control of the production to the actress’ best friend Alan Stewart and onetime boyfriend Ryan O’Neal when it had been originally given to Nevius. Having anticipated the possibility that she may become too ill to finish the project, Farrah had signed an agreement to allow her business partner to control the direction of the movie. Nevius added:
“She had foreseen this possibility and assigned creative control to me. Last April she signed an agreement empowering me to make the creative decisions.”
Against Farrah’s Wishes
There were many aspects of the production that conflicted with the 70’s sex symbol’s riches. Originally entitled “Wing and a Prayer,” it was Farrah’s wish to avoid including Farrah’s son Redmond as well as focus on aspects of the medical issues that she faced to support others like her. Unfortunately it appears that her choice to work with NBC proved to be a mistake, even after the network had assured her that the story would be hers to tell.
Gratuitous Ratings Attempt
In the end, it appears that many of the changes made to Farrah’s story were made in an attempt to boost ratings at the expense of the true story. First, NBC had transferred the project from its entertainment division to the network’s news division, which rushed to feature it as a special during May ratings sweeps. In the process, new footage was hurriedly shot over the last several weeks that wouldn’t normally have been included. Second, the program was formed into a documentary which was directly in contrast to Farrah’s wishes of a diary. Lastly, a substantial portion was devoted to former “Charlie’s Angels” costars Jaclyn Smith and Kate Jackson, who are featured in the final edit. Even Farrah noted in the production that “I was only on the TV show for one season.”
I don’t think that it’s It’s not too much of a stretch to assume that her former costars were added at the last minute to add sex appeal and hike TV ratings.
Reality Taken Out for Entertainment
In short, it appears that Farrah’s Story was gutted for entertainment value. Based on comments by Craig Nevius, Farrah has wanted to use the special to address important medical issues that were ultimately only glossed over in the final production. Chemotherapy sensitivity tests, anal pap smears, the FDA drug approval process and other subjects were all under consideration to be included in the story. Unfortunately, the result was a watered down video that attracted criticism on a wide range of levels.
Ultimately it’s not what Farrah Fawcett would have wanted.