Coming soon to the big screen will be the the five-year legal battle between 15 working-class homeowners and the Connecticut city that wanted to raze their houses to make room for an “urban village” that would benefit the nearby Pfizer complex.
Catherine Keener will star in writer-director Courtney Moorehead Balaker’s “Little Pink House,” which was owned by nurse Susette Kelo, who became the reluctant leader of the movement for the residents of New London, Connecticut, to keep their homes. (The town appealed to eminent domain to take over the properties, arguing that the jobs and tax revenue that Pfizer would bring to New London would be in service of the public good. After spending $80 million fighting Kelo and her neighbors, the city lost their Supreme Court case. Pfizer then left their offices in New London, taking with it 1,500 jobs.)
Based on Jeff Benedict’s nonfiction account, Balaker’s script was a finalist on the Athena List.
Here’s the synopsis for Benedict’s book:
Suzette [sic] Kelo was just trying to rebuild her life when she purchased a falling down Victorian house perched on the waterfront in New London, CT. The house wasn’t particularly fancy, but with lots of hard work Suzette [sic] was able to turn it into a home that was important to her, a home that represented her new found independence.
Little did she know that the City of New London, desperate to revive its flailing economy, wanted to raze her house and the others like it that sat along the waterfront in order to win a lucrative Pfizer pharmaceutical contract that would bring new business into the city. Kelo and fourteen neighbors flat out refused to sell, so the city decided to exercise its power of eminent domain to condemn their homes, launching one of the most extraordinary legal cases of our time, a case that ultimately reached the United States Supreme Court.
In “Little Pink House,” award-winning investigative journalist Jeff Benedict takes us behind the scenes of this case — indeed, Suzette [sic] Kelo speaks for the first time about all the details of this inspirational true story as one woman led the charge to take on corporate America to save her home.