Among the stars

Friday 16th December 2011 12:00 am
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Ben Mee with Matt Damon ()

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THE family whose story of buying a South Hams zoo inspired a Hollywood movie have visited New York to attend the grand premiere with stars Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson.

Dartmoor Zoo, Sparkwell, was purchased by the Mee family from Surrey in 2006 after it had been closed down by inspectors. It was reopened the following year.

Ben, 46, wrote a book about the experience entitled: 'We Bought A Zoo' and the story has now been adapted into a film. The story is very personal to Ben and covers everything from the moment the family saw the zoo up until the death of his wife Katherine from cancer in March 2007.

Ben and his children Milo, 10, and Ella, eight, were invited to tread the red carpet with the film's cast and crew on Monday.

The family teamed up for photos with Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson, who play the main characters,before watching the premiere. After admitting in the past that he had been extremely nervous about watching the film – because it deals with his own personal story – Ben said he was delighted with the result.

He had visited the Hollywood set earlier in the year, where he first met his screen double Matt Damon.

The pair got on straight away and talked about the various roles and ideas in the film. Ben said it was strange to see Matt wearing a name badge with 'Benjamin' on it.

Ben and Matt have also appeared on Anderson Cooper's American TV show to promote the film.

'We Bought A Zoo' has been directed by Cameron Crowe, who has also directed films such as Jerry Maguire and Vanilla Sky.

The film is due out in the UK in March 2012.

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