The film by D’Alessio, who lives on a county island near Mining Camp Restaurant, tells the story of a woman in her 40s, Virginia Flowers, who is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s. If created, the film would be the first major picture to focus solely on the disease, D’Alessio said.
“Virginia Flowers, a woman lawyer, is very strong, sassy and full of life,” D’Alessio said.
“She learns that she has early onset Alzheimer’s. It also happens to be the same disease that prompted her husband’s suicide one year earlier. After that, she not only has to cope with the disease, but also her daughter and her daughter’s criminal boyfriend’s plot to take over her substantial assets.
Now, Virginia very boldly rebels against her daughter’s schemes and fights her own fears of the disease by running away to these happy places of her past. She escapes several times and goes on this odyssey where she encounters some difficulties and some problems. She’s so terrified of losing her freedom and her memory that she’s driven to these places of her past.”
The character lives in Apache Junction and utilizes businesses such as Saguaro Family Fitness.
“Because I live in the area, I was familiar with it,” D’Alessio said. “I figured, ‘OK, let me put the character right here.’
“This city does have a lot of character. It has a familiarity. The location makes it a little easier to write. That’s why I selected Apache Junction. However, like I said, we may have to move elsewhere because of the tax incentive program. After all, if we can get 20 to 25 percent back on a tax incentive program on a budget that we have , it’s a lot to the investors. We can’t sneeze at that. We can’t get around that.”
D’Alessio would not reveal the budget on the record. He said that actress Rosanna Arquette is attached to the project via letter of intent.
Arquette’s management did not respond to confirmation requests.
D’Alessio came up with the idea for the film after meeting a woman at his mother-inlaw's nursing home in New Rochelle, N.Y.
“I sat at a lunchroom table with my mother-in-law and several other ladies,” he said. “I was sitting next to this lady who was telling us her story about how she’d run away and go hiking up the Hudson River with the Girl Scouts.
After the lunch period had ended and they left the table, I learned this woman had Alzheimer’s. I was intrigued by that and some of the ideas she talked to me about became part of the story.”
Bronx, N.Y.-born D’Alessio said he had an “a-ha moment” and realized this could be a great story. He said he’s been through eight to 10 drafts.
“What we have right now, I think, is good enough to film, although it would depend on the director,” D’Alessio said.
“Once the director gets on board, things could change, but the ultimate theme of the story could remain the same.”