Beautiful Jim Key—the Movie


I’m as eager as you are, but I cannot answer move-related questions. That said, during spring of 2019, I read somewhere that funding for the movie has not yet been secured. 

Several people have asked about the Beautiful Jim Key movie, and I am happy to share the very little that I know.

The forthcoming movie, tentatively titled Beautiful Jim Key, is based on the adult book titled Beautiful Jim Key: The Lost History of a Horse and a Man Who Changed the World, by Mim Eichler RivasScreenwriter Robert Rodat (Saving Private Ryan, The Patriot) will be making his directorial debut. Hopefully, it will be family-friendly.

And, hold onto your seats….Morgan Freeman has been cast as Doc! Yes, I’m serious! When the announcement was made in 2014, it was estimated that production would begin in 2015. I’ve since learned that production companies are very tight-lipped about these things, so who knows what the status is now.

There’s a rumor that Lukas, the rescued Thoroughbred—now a Guinness record-holding, skilled horse—might play Jim. I haven’t found confirmation.

Of course, it’s a Hollywood film, so I’m anticipating a fair amount of fictionalization for dramatic effect. But, holy moly, what a great way to share the story of Doc and Jim with the world. Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World About Kindness will be a great companion book. Let’s all keep fingers crossed that they preserve the heart of the story.

Here are just a few of the articles announcing the movie.





46 Responses to “Beautiful Jim Key—the Movie”

  1. Melinda Gustafson

    I want so much to see and someday own this movie, since it was one of my favorite books. So if it doesn’t make the much advertised status as most movies, and get caught in the independant or documentary status; please let me know. Because ther is only one theater her in phoenix arizona that shows movies like that. I’m so excited to read that one day I may see my favorite history story played out.

  2. Jill I Tucci

    Has Beautiful Jim Key – the movie been released yet? I’m anxiously awaiting it!

    • muse4kids

      Hello, Melinda!
      I haven’t been able to find any updates about the movie. I’m anxious, too!
      I can only suggest that we both keep an eye on the production studio and watch for any buzz among the entertainment industry.

  3. Gloria English

    Please keep me updated about this movie
    I told so many horse friends about it years ago and never heard anything. I even contacted Lucan owner telling her Karen Murdock that he would be perfect for the movie. Of course Morgan Freeman as Dr Key will be awesome. I had hoped he would just go ahead and fund this project – it needs to be told – like PT BARNUM these historical movies are so great. Please let me know when this happens !!!!!

    • muse4kids

      Hello, Gloria! I’m excited about the movie, too. The movie is not based on my book, and I am not involved in its production. There’s no way for me to provide updates. I recommend watching for updates from the production company.



  4. Constance Funk

    PLEASE keep me posted on the status of the film as I will be SO excited to see it and purchase it and am also interested in hosting a screening, as I have for other powerful documentary films, at a wonderful restored vintage theatre here in Mount Vernon, WA where I live.
    THANK YOU more than I can express–sending blessings for a very happy New Year!!
    Constance Funk

    • muse4kids

      Unfortunately, I have no way to hear of updates about the movie. Seems like I read something about a possible 2019 release.

  5. Lena Beth Reynolds

    I have been to Beautiful Jim Key’s grave & monument/gravestone in middle TN. Read the book & loved it. Hope a movie develops! True stories are better than fiction anyway.

  6. Christie L anderson

    Read the book several years ago and loved the story and history! Turns out my Tennessee Walker mare is related to The Beautiful Jim Key. 120 years ago or so I her pedigree. Montana is so full of herself, smart and very people oriented .

    Please keep me updated, very eager to see this story come to the big screen.

  7. Hubert Anderson

    Please e-mail me when this movie comes out ! marinecorpandy48@

  8. Imogene Clark

    I am almost afraid to ask…is there anything that can be done to get this story put to the screen?
    What a beautiful story..This needs to be remembered..
    Just a waste if it’s not remembered.

    Keep us posted… anyone who could know anything…thanks

  9. Terry Johnson

    Hi, this is one movie I would like to see. After watching the YouTube documentary, this would be one of the best family movie to hit the theater in a long time. I normally wait for movie’s to hit Netflix or Hulu. But this would be great at the Drive in, in Wicksburg Alabama.

  10. Brad

    This is a movie that I will drive down out of the mountains 4 hours to see. We have so many interesting things in history to base movies on and this is a great story I hope to see.

  11. Tracy Morris

    Wow, what a remarkable story and piece of American Heritage. This movie will say so much in a time that has forgotten the past. A story that recaputures what it is to be kind to animals and to one another.
    May we remember, not only the Beautiful Jim Key but the Wonderful Beautiful Jim Key!!!

  12. P

    Does anyone know if this movie is still being made? Or where to find updates? I know descendants of Albert Rogers who would like to see it.

    • muse4kids

      I have no connections to the movie and have found no updates. Production companies are very tight-lipped.

  13. LYNDA

    I can hardly wait for this movie to arrive, it sounds like Jim Key was a wonderful intelligent horse. Keep me informed if any movie dates are released.

  14. Linda Mirris

    I have been a horse and animal lover forever. I am anxious for the movie to become a reality.

  15. Janet Johnson

    i am sooo looking foreward to this movie! i have told all my friends about it & we are all anxioisly waiting. it is such a wonderful story, i cant wait

  16. Larry Ferguson

    I stumbled upon this story and found a delightful story which must be told to the world. This remarkable true story happened in Shelbyville, Tenn. In the late 1800’s. Why it remained reculse has many reasons and I’m so happy it will soon be a movie. May GOD BLESS DR. KEY & JIM.

  17. Ellie McDonald

    I would so love to see this movie….if it is ever made…..would be such a great family movie….patiently waiting in Scranton, PA

  18. Gerald

    The way movies are made today if it doesn’t have any cussing in it it won’t make it said say

  19. Jimmy potter

    Please please release this wonderful true story and make it the movie starring Morgan Freeman because no one else but Mr.Freeman should portray Dr.Key.Please Mr.Freeman if this movie production has hit a snag please rescue it and finance it yourself and we will all help you I promise on my Mississippi Delta heart,Jimbo.

  20. Susan E Shaw

    This is a wonderful story, perfect and something needed in these times!

  21. Donna DeFiore

    What a beautiful heartwarming story. Looking forward to the release of the movie from Bangor, PA. It would make for a very poignant statement during these tumultuous times in our nation.

  22. Lydia

    The world needs this movie.
    Plenty of little girl horse movies but not very many fact based history type.

    Morgan Freeman *swoon* what a fantastic choice.
    I hope it happens.

  23. helena lines

    I really would love to see this piece of history come to life for the whole world to see. The world is ready for this part of history in so many ways and so many platforms from Animal Rights to Human rights. We all want to feel good and nothing will make us feel better than to see how an enslaved man used his intelligence and wits to become a successful free man who not only rose above that which would drag a man asunder but used his power to teach kindness to all living beings. Dr. Bill Key helped free hundreds of enslaved people and was one of the greatest horse trainers of all time. Against all odds, Dr. Bill Key created his own opportunities and seized his own success. A hero then and a hero now.

  24. Joan Cramer

    With times as they are of people all upset over the coronavirus, and all political attn. we need encouraging.
    I would hope donations would thus provide funding and proceeds go toward animals to some degree.
    It would be good for Americans and other Nations to hear the non-
    Prejudice way Doc Key was raised in love and kindness, how he help with slaves and protection of his white Brothers during the war. Uplifting in so many ways. Perhaps be viewed in outdoor arenas. Would be a blessing to unify people as the pandemic just keeps conflicted emotions going on.
    Would be wonderful if at libraries or Redbox etc. to rent. Or in theaters as this pandemic halted. Praying.
    Joan Cramer

  25. Mary Green

    Hello, I have been following this thread for some time now as I am researching Jim Key for a UK Facebook Page dedicated to animal kindness. The journey is so full of experiences which I feel should be explored and exhibited. One thing I have established through dialogue with David Hoffman, film-maker, is that the film is not going ahead, sadly. But I am happy to keep a finger on the pulse and let you know should I hear anything changes.

  26. Sherry L West

    I absolutely LOVED this book and I absolutely LOVE Morgan Freeman ! This is a story that should be taught in American History and there should be a monument put up of this man and his horse. I cannot wait to see the movie as Morgan Freeman is one of my favorite actors and persons.

    • muse4kids

      As far as I know, the movie is not in production

  27. Doris Lampro

    I pray that this movie will happen.. what an uplifting story, of love, hope, and kindness! And Morgan Freeman would be perfect as Doc. He is a great actor. Please let me know if this movie has, or will happen.thankyou,and God Bless.

    • muse4kids

      I have no connection to the movie and am unsure if it will still be made.

  28. Meredith N Bowman

    I would LOVE to see this move!! What do we need to do to find out its progress??

    • muse4kids

      Unfortunately, I don’t have movie contacts for updates. This long after the deal announcement, there’s a chance the movie won’t be made.

  29. Jeanie James

    Why can we not Ask Morgan Freeman or Screenwriter Robert Rodat?? Shouldn’t they put us out of our misery, if they have decided to Not make the film?? I mean it’s been 7 years since the announcement Morgan was going to play Dr. William Key! I betcha anything They Will make it, but that the pandemic is the reason for the huge delay. Otherwise they would have published the fact that the movie has been permanently scrapped.
    – Jeanie James, horse lover & guardian extraordinaire

  30. Judy Gari

    I just found out about Jim Key and am looking forward to seeing it made into a movie. It would be a real family movie in these terrible times and be a real feel good one to watch. Please make the movie!!

  31. Randy

    The history that is taught today is one avenue of thought. The Jim Key story is another and not only needs to be told, it should have been taught in school. I have a story very much like it and, I believe it would lift the spirits of a wearied and confused nation! There are so many stories just like it that need to be told. I don’t understand why these things are not being done. Maybe I could help. Not sure how but will continue to move ahead.