This particular story is going to be told by a wonderful friend of mine--who also happens to be one of the master storytellers on the planet--Stephen Simon.From: Stephen Simon, The Force Is with You: Mystical Movie Messages that Inspire Our Lives, Hampton Roads Publishing Company, Inc.: Charlottesville, Virginia (2002), page 79:
Working with the wonderful tool of film, Stephen is responsible for bringing to the world two of its most special stories ever, Somewhere in Time and What Dreams May Come... these two are stories that the heart cannot forget, carrying messages that only old souls could imagine, but that all souls resonate with deeply.
When I first saw these movies I wondered whether their extraordinary messages were being sent consciously and deliberately, or arrived on the doorstep of my mind as mwere after-products of the movie-making process--unintended outcomes of what were simply commercial ventures. Then, as I traveled my own surprising life path, I chanced to meet the producer of these films... and I got to find out.
No, they were definitely not unintended outcomes.
Stephen (and his co-producer on Dreams, Barnet Bain) was very much aware of the incredible nature of the messages he was sending with these films, and made them for that reason.
Looking back, I'm sure that [by studying and reading about death and the afterlife, including Elisabeth Kubler Ross's works and death and dying] I was just preparing myself for the moment when I would read "Bid Time Return" (later retitled Somewhere in Time) and discover the true path of my life. When I read that book, it all just clicked in for me. Even though the two lovers [Richard Collier and "Elise McKenna", i.e., Maude Adams] do not actually get together after life in the book, I knew that was the way the story had to end and I knew that dealing with this life/death challenge in the realm of movies was one of my life's purposes.Stephen Simon discusses how he first met and formed a partnership with fellow New Age metaphysical film enthusiast Barnet Bain. From: Simon, The Force Is with You, pages 191-192:
It is, then, not "accident" that I produced both Somewhere in Time and (with Barnet Bain) What Dreams May Come. I believe with all my heart that our traditional attitudes about death are no longer viable if, indeed, they ever were.
By this time, I wanted to make only metaphysical movies. I wanted to make What Dreams May ComeFrom: Stephen Simon, The Force Is with You, page 245:
In late April 1994, I attended a metaphysical seminar where I found myself seated behind a very tall man who had his arm around the shoulders of a very beautiful woman. Not only couldn't I see very well, but I also found myself feeling vey jealous of the obvious love between them. I resolved that, at the first break, I would try to find another seat. During that break, I was talking to an acquaintance who saw someone walk up behind me. Smiling, she said, "Stephen, turn around, I want you to meet a writer who shares your interest in metaphysical films." You guessed it. The tall guy, Barnet Bain. We met. We shook hands, and instantaneously became best friends and partners. No exaggeration. We just knew at the moment that we had found each other and could begin our business.
Barnet and his wife Sandy had been absorbed in metaphysics for the previous ten years and had used a name for a corporation that handled their personal affairs. The name was Metafilmics. As soon as I heard it, I requested that we be able to appropriate it for the name of our new business. They graciously agreed, and the new Metafilmics was created--but the inspiration and original idea for it was theirs.
Barnet had been a writer for many years. The only film that had been made of one of his scripts was the Royal Shakespeare version of Jesus which was released in 1980. Unbeknownst to many, Jesus is one of the most successful films ever released. Warner Brothers has a special division devoted only to the film; moreover, it's also fascinating that this amazingly metaphysical man [a New Age believer] wrote a traditional version of Jesus.
Barnet also developed several studio projects over the years and was way ahead of his time as a writer. His scripts were inventive and spiritual, and he was as frustrated as I was with the traditional business when we met...
With the synergy of Barnet's resonance, we finally found a way to get What Deams May Come off the ground, and it became the first film to carry the Metafilmics banner.
So, twenty years elapsed between Somewhere in Time [also produced by Stephen Simon] and What Dreams May Come. These are the two films of which I am the most proud, and the films that have struck the deepest chord in both myself and the audiences for whom they were made.
In 1995, Stephen and Barnet Bain formed Metafilmics, a production company that exclusively develops and produces spiritual projects.