I had the opportunity to visit Santa Monica and hang with Sam. He was interested in creating a movie about killer whale captivity, and requested that I fly down from Washington state. We sat down with another movie producer, and put our heads together. He seemed excited about the project.
Those plans changed after the success of "Blackfish."
Earlier, Blackfish director Gabriela Cowperthwaite brought the film to his home and did a private screening. Later, after the film's success, Sam figured that he didn't have to make another movie on the topic. He told me,
"Why should I make another film after 'Blackfish'?"
He also said numerous times, as the Oscars approached, that he thought that "Blackfish" would not only get nominated for an Academy Award, but that it would win the award. Some of his thoughts regarding "Blackfish" are included in the interviews embedded on this page.
As an anecdote regarding the movie Sam didn't make, I can tell you this: It was going to involve ex-trainers, night operations, stealth activities, gullible SeaWorld security guards, and in the end, large heavy-lift helicopters. SeaWorld of California was targeted due to it's location near the ocean.
As far as my role, Sam needed to know some details regarding animal separations, transports, use of stretchers, and how we'd keep the whales moist and as comfortable as possible for their relatively brief ride from the stretcher to the open ocean ...
Damn ... it's fun to think like Sam Simon. We'll miss you Sam.