House leaders will hold a dress rehearsal Wednesday for a movie adaptation of the iconic home on Chicago’s West Side, the first step in a long-awaited, billion-dollar project.
In an exclusive interview with POLITICO, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called the movie project a “dream” and said the house will be a “living museum.”
The House’s decision to hold the first formal rehearsal for the movie comes as the House is gearing up for a midterm election year that will feature several high-profile races, including one that pits Democrats against Republicans in the Senate.
The House is also expected to vote on a series of measures, including a $1.9 trillion tax overhaul, that will benefit corporations, and House Republicans have said they intend to keep tax rates from rising.
In a statement, the House Democratic Caucus said it is “deeply disappointed” with the House’s move to hold a “dress rehearsal” for the film, which is based on a true story about the life of famed Chicago artist, John C. Waddell.
House Democrats also said they are still reviewing the script, which was first published in 2015.
The film is being produced by New Line Cinema, which has previously helmed movies including “The Big Short,” “Lone Survivor” and “Zero Dark Thirty.”
The film was directed by Chris Terrio, who also produced the “Owl House” adaptation.
“This is an extraordinary opportunity for our House to work with the talented producers of The Owl House, and they will be providing a powerful platform for our members to tell their stories,” Pelosi said in a statement.
The film is expected to be released in the spring of 2019, after the House has finished its regular summer session.
The House is expected back into session in March.
House Speaker Nancy Plettenberg (D) said Wednesday she was encouraged by the prospect of a movie based on the life and work of Waddel.
“The Owl Houses legacy is one of artistic, intellectual, social and economic courage,” she said in the statement.
“The House will continue to honor and celebrate its history and the life-changing work of John Waddells family.”
In a separate statement, Waddels widow, Elizabeth, said the film “will bring to life a time when the House of Representatives was the most powerful institution in our nation and when the American dream was still alive for millions.”
“This movie will bring to vivid life a great American dream that will endure in the hearts and minds of our nation’s citizens for generations to come,” she added.
The Owl house, which dates back to 1893, was designed by Waddella in 1875 and was once a national landmark.
The house, with its ornate ceilings and large windows, is one-quarter mile (1.8 kilometers) from Waddles home.
It was built as part of the Waddelle estate and later became the residence of the former president, George W. Bush.
It is also the home of Wadden’s wife, Eleanor, who was born in the home and was a member of the House for a decade until she retired in 2004.
The house’s original windows were salvaged from the 1930s and the house was restored in the 1960s.