It All Started
With A Whale

SheKnows brings you this exclusive look at the true love story behind the romance in Big Miracle, the movie about whales and falling in love.

Big Miracle

"This is a very personal story for us," says Bonnie Carroll, former White House west wing staffer who fell in love with her husband during this extraordinary experience of saving three whales off the coast of Alaska in 1988.

Actress Vinessa Shaw (3:10 to Yuma, Eyes Wide Shut) plays the character based on Bonnie in Big Miracle, the romantic comedy about love in the snowy tundra of Alaska. Drew Barrymore and John Krasinski co-star.

Speaking of love... Is Drew Barrymore engaged? >>

Dermot Mulroney (The Grey, My Best Friend's Wedding, About Schmidt) plays the character based on the man who will become Bonnie's future husband, Tom Carroll. Mulroney and Shaw re-enact the love story that happened off screen nearly 20 years ago.

First, he heard her voice...

"A few minutes into the conversation, we said to each other, where have you been?" says Bonnie of the first phone call she had with Tom. She called him after learning about the trapped whales because she thought his expertise in the subject matter might help. The whales were saved, but that's not the only positive thing to come out of the situation. Two people fell in love.

"The fact that it's a true story is so romantic, that I can't fathom that there is no definition of romance if this isn't it," says Drew Barrymore who plays Rachel Kramer in the film. Barrymore was overwhelmed with emotion when describing the story of these two strangers coming together under dire circumstances.

Then, they got married...

One thing led to the next and Bonnie and Tom ended up getting married in Washington in full regalia. These two really did get a Hollywood ending. SheKnows brings you this exclusive look at the behind-the-scenes story of true love that withstood the test of hard times.

Big Miracle is the screen adaptation of the book Freeing the Whales by Tom Rose about the rescue attempt of three grey whales. The film also stars Kristen Bell and Ted Danson.

Big Miracle releases in theaters Feb. 3.

Photo credit: Universal Pictures


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Comments on "Exclusive: The true story behind Big Miracle love"

Jamie April 30, 2013 | 1:15 PM

This is a sad story of the whales. What's really annoying is the woman Drew Plays telling people that live off the land & survive by hunting & fishing telling them they can't or shouldn't hunt. THAT'S SICK!! Trying to kill people or what ??

LadyWhoLovesBirds July 22, 2012 | 6:24 PM

I would like to find out how true to the actual event the movie is? Did the Russian ship really have to ram the ice blockage a number of times? It was really quite a fantastic rescue. The underwater scenes were really beautiful. And when the whales were finally free, it was a wonderful moment.

Jacqueline Sadinsky February 07, 2012 | 8:00 PM

cant wait to see this, we are going next week

Dale January 28, 2012 | 1:41 AM

Not sure where the 8:45 P.M. poster is coming from, but one of the reasons Ken Kwapis pushed for the movie being filmed in Alaska was so that Alaska Native actors could be included and we are not just talking about extras either. The main child actor who plays Nathan has Native roots in Barrow, Alaska and Malik, his Eskimo mentor, in real life is a well known performer here in Alaska. By the way, if you read the book that Tom Rose wrote based on his first hand involvement, the "Love Story" of Bonnie and the Colonel is well chronicled in the book. Even Drew Barrymore's real life character (Cindy Lowry) was saved from drowning by her boyfriend in a Beluga whale rescue effort that happened in real just miles from where I live in Anchorage, Alaska and I suspect that event might be part of the back story in the movie. What is more romantic than rescuing a damsel in distress?

EverythingIsWrong January 27, 2012 | 8:45 PM

So a story about a group of mostly Inuit and Russian volunteers is being made in to a movie that, for some reason, sports an all-white all-American cast and a gaudy mostly fake love story. Great. Hollywood is just sickening these days. The worst part is that people will lap this garbage up and ask for more. Just like that awful dolphin movie and the blatantly racist bilge that was The Blind Side. Apparently Americans can't get enough of this hideously fake happy glowing Hollywood magic. The faker the better!

Christine H January 27, 2012 | 12:54 PM

True love does exist, this movie is proof that we really do care about each other as human beings and the planet we live on without being too judgmental and legalistic. Really great things can happen on this planet when people are not afraid to care and mean it by their actions!God bless you Bonnie!

CarpeDiem January 25, 2012 | 12:27 PM

Agreed. Story line is about rescuing the whales, why throw in this love story line? Reading the synopsis, I'd wager the love story was included because it had more to do with the political connection.

Sandra.Smith January 24, 2012 | 6:23 PM

Uh... this is not a romantic comedy.

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