IHS Chemical Week


Rare Bird Alert: Chemical Week Sighting in “The Big Year”

4:05 PM MDT | October 17, 2011 | By ROB WESTERVELT

Jack Black, Steve Martin,
and Owen Wilson star in
"The Big Year,"

Chemical Week magazine has a small cameo in the film “The Big Year,” which opened in the U.S. last Friday. The movie is a fictionalized account of Mark Obmascik’s 2004 book “The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession.” The book tells the story of three birders, including a former senior executive with Rohm and Haas, who take on the “Big Year," a competition to find the most species of birds during a calendar year.

In the film version, Steve Martin plays Stu Preissler, CEO of Preissler Chemical, a successful executive who drops out of the chemical industry to pursue birding for a year. Martin’s character is based on Al Levantin, the v.p./corporate development at Rohm and Haas in the late 1980s, who took on the 1998 "Big Year" during retirement.

The Chemical Week cameo comes near the end. Preissler stares upon a wall of business magazine covers featuring him and Preissler Chemical as he ponders whether to accept an offer to return as a top chemical executive or enjoy the quiet life of birding, grandchildren, and leisure in Aspen. I won’t spoil that outcome, but can safely say that this is the best major studio release on competitive birding I have ever seen.

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