The story of the house in Seattle that has been dubbed the “real Up house” is being made into a movie. Octogenarian Edith Macefield famously turned down offers of up to $1 million to move out of her house in the Ballard neighbourhood, to make way for a mall. Holding out, the development went ahead regardless, springing up five storeys around her 108-year-old farmhouse.
Comparisons to the Pete Docter movie Up have long been drawn — in fact, development on Docter&’s movie began in 2004, with Macefield&’s first refusal to move house coming in 2006. Up told the story of Carl Fredrickson, a cantankerous old gent who similarly refused to move from the house he shared with his late wife, but Macefield&’s story is equally cinematic.
As the development began, Macefield struck up an unlikely friendship with Barry Martin, the project&’s construction supervisor, and one of the very people threatening to swallow up her home. The pair were soon inseparable, with Martin ensuring that the construction impacted her life as little as possible and ultimately driving her to her hair appointments.
When Macefield, who had become a folk hero for her steadfast refusal to move from her home, died at the age of 86 in 2008, she left Martin the house in her will. Martin went on to write a book about their friendship, Under One Roof, published in 2013. The book and its screen adaptation have now been picked up by Fox Searchlight, the “indie” arm of 20th Century Fox, with Will Gluck, the filmmaker behind the Emma Stone breakthrough movie Easy A and the recent remake of Annie set to produce.
The house is still under threat, however, after it was sold to a firm who had intended to use it as an office, but failed to pay its taxes. Now a campaign is running to have the house lifted (just like in the movie, though sadly not with balloons), put on a barge and floated to Orcas Island, where it can be given to a family in need of a home.