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Whale warrior sells his tale

NEIL REID
Last updated 09:44 17/01/2013
whale

CLINCHER: Protester Pete Bethune with his old boat Earthrace which sank after a collision with a Japanese whaling ship, says a $70,000 payment was enough to agree to selling his life story.

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Eco warrior Pete Bethune is set to have his life story made into a movie.

Mr Bethune confirmed in a blog that he had sold the rights to his story to a movie producer for $70,000.

The film will be based on the Shore resident's book, Whale Warrior, which centres on the sinking of the Ady Gil after it collided with a Japanese whaling ship, his detention on the Shonan Maru 2 and conviction on charges of assault, trespass, vandalism and possession of a knife.

He spent four months in prison in Tokyo awaiting trial, before being deported from Japan after being handed a suspended two-year jail sentence.

In his blog, Mr Bethune refers to the producer only as an Australian with the first name of Andrew.

He says that during the recent meeting he had been sceptical about the producer's desire to turn his story into a film.

"Is this the right guy to sell to? Well, it is not like there is a queue of production companies looking to do a movie on it, so maybe I've got nothing to lose," Mr Bethune wrote.

"I still have the dilemma of whether this guy is just another wannabe executive producer with no real substance.

" ‘I tell ya what', I finally say. ‘I don't know if you are for real or full of s... And I still have my doubts on whether you can pull this off. Or even if it is worthy of a movie'.

"A small smile creeps across Andrew's face. ‘But I have a campaign starting soon in Africa, and I'm still 70 grand short of what I need to run it. You give me 70 grand in the next five days and we have a deal'."

Mr Bethune wrote that two days later, a payment of $70,000 had been deposited into Earthrace Conservation's bank account.

The business meeting was conducted at Los Angeles' Chateau Marmont hotel. Mr Bethune wrote: "I've heard about this place but never been here before. It just smells of power and money, and I feel somewhat out of place in my tattered camo cloths [sic] and grubby backpack."

He says the producer told him he believed a movie on Bethune's life and times would "help the anti-whaling cause".

The Bethune-skippered Ady Gill - previously named Earthrace - sank after a collision with the Shonan Maru 2 in the Southern Ocean in January 2010.

A month later Mr Bethune boarded Shonan Maru 2, to make a citizen's arrest of its captain Hiroyuki Komiya for what he said was the attempted murder of his six crew.

Mr Bethune also presented the whalers with a $4.3-million bill for Ady Gill. Members of the whaling ship's crew arrested him and took him back to Tokyo.

The subsequent case attracted emotional responses in Japan. On his arrival there, protesters holding Japanese flags lined the pier, shouting: "Apologise to the Japanese people! We will tear you apart!"

Protesters also gathered outside the Tokyo District Court waving placards with messages including "Hang terrorist Peter Bethune" and"Destroy Caucasian discrimination against Japanese".

Fairfax NZ

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- North Shore Times

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