March 24, 2009
Jade Goody's death followed by row over rival books and plan for film
Patrick Foster, Media Correspondent
While the life of the 27-year-old may have passed by anyone who did not watch the Channel 4 reality show or failed to pick up OK! magazine, her death from cervical cancer has attracted huge interest and, perhaps inevitably, growing tension over the scramble to profit from her story.
By yesterday more than 500 floral tributes had been laid outside Goody's home in Upshire, Essex.
Danny Hayward, a friend of Goody and one of three trustees of a fund set up to provide for her two children, Bobby, 5, and Freddie, 4, told The Times that a film of her life was being discussed. “Her story lends itself to a biographical film,” he said. “She's captured the mood of the nation. We're talking about it, and we welcome approaches. We want it to tap into raising awareness of cervical cancer.”
It is understood that the family are keen on approaching Nick Love, the British director behind The Football Factory, the 2004 film about hooliganism, who also worked as executive producer on Bronson, the recently released biography of the man dubbed Britain's most violent prisoner.
Love could not be reached yesterday, but sources at his company, Vertigo Films, said that he was “very flattered” about the suggestion and that his involvement would depend on his work schedule.
The publisher has also changed the front cover to include her dates of birth and death, despite the book containing no reference to her battle against cancer. “It is being passed off as current, when it isn't,” a friend of Goody said.
The book is being rushed to stores and is expected to be on the shelves by the end of this week, where it will be in direct competition with Forever in My Heart, Goody's official “cancer diary”, published by HarperCollins, which is owned by News Corporation, the parent company of The Times.
A proportion of profits from the HarperCollins book will be donated to Marie Curie Cancer Care. A spokeswoman for the publisher said that it was scheduled for release in late April, but that it may be brought forward.
John Blake, of John Blake Publishing, denied that he was cashing in by renaming his company's book. He said: “The advance has been earned back and all the royalties from ours will go to the boys.”