A Thoreau Life

screen-shot-2016-10-15-at-12-27-26-pmMany earth friendly folks would call Henry the world’s first environmentalist, but there’s so much more to Henry David Thoreau’s life than his classic book, Walden, like the forbidden love of his life, Ralph Waldo Emerson’s wife, Lidian Emerson. That’s complicated. Henry became a hero to Leo Tolstoy, Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, and Martin Luther King, Jr. for advocating non-violent civil disobedience, and yet he fervently supported a bloody Civil War to abolish slavery. That’s even more complicated. That conflict between believing in non-violent civil disobedience, but so despising slavery that he supported a Civil War to end it, ravaged Henry’s crooked carrot of a body, his quicksilver mind, and his transcendental soul so severely that it drove him to an early grave.

Henry David Thoreau, then a little known, penniless naturalist, abolitionist, and author, died of tuberculosis at the age of forty four in 1862, just as the Civil War ripped America asunder. Walden fell out of print after its first edition. A few weeks before he died, Henry convinced his publisher to print a second edition, released shortly after the author’s death. Since Henry’s death Walden has been translated into every language on earth, sold untold millions of copies, and never, ever gone out of print. He cautioned us all, time and again, “Simplify, simplify,” but he remains compassionately complicated, this man we call Henry David Thoreau.

NOTE: Henry’s grandfather, Jean Thoreau, arrived in America by way of a shipwreck. He served with Paul Revere during the Revolutionary War, and then decided to Anglicize his French name by converting Jean to John, and changing the pronunciation of his last name from the usual thuh-ROW, to THUH-row, like the word “thorough,” hence, our new title, A Thoreau Life.

Please contact us to request a copy of the screenplay.


Wild Bill Ward



The Thoreau screenplay currently entitled, A Thoreau Life, but originally known as, A Different Drummer, was named as an Official Selection at the 2013 Oaxaca Film Festival Screenplay Competition, a Semi-finalist at the 2013 Starz Denver Film Festival Screenwriting Competition, Official Semi-finalist of the 2014 Charleston International Film Festival Screenplay Competition, and chosen Very Best at the 2013 West Field, New York Feature Screenplay Competition (see the award photo below).

2013 West Field Screenwriting Awards – LINK

Official Winner 2013 WFSA Feature Screenplay: A Different Drummer