Matt Damon plays the saviour of a struggling zoo

Damon plays the zoo's saviour Bejamin Mee Credit: 20th Centurty Fox

'We Bought a Zoo' which is out this weekend is based on the true story of Benjamin Mee, who purchased a struggling zoo in 2006, only to massively change its fortunes with the help of his family.

They saved the zoo from closure and its animals from destruction by buying it, and did it up for re-opening. Within a few months after purchasing the zoo, Benjamin's wife Katherine, who was in remission from cancer, became ill again and she died at the age of 40. Three months later, Mee (pictured below) opened the zoo.

As a journalist and newspaper columnist prior to buying the zoo, Mee knew he could write a book about his experiences, but at first he thought he'd write a newspaper column. "I figured that this was an interesting subject matter and even when Hollywood bought the rights, I didn't expect it to actually get made. And when it did, I didn't expect it to get made on such a fantastic scale, with the stars and director that were chosen."

Mee's true adventure was chronicled in his 2008 bestselling memoir, "We Bought a Zoo: The Amazing True Story of a Broken-Down Zoo, and the 200 Animals That Changed a Family Forever." In the fall of 2007, prior to the book's release, Mee's story was documented in a popular four-part BBC Two documentary series entitled Ben's Zoo. Now it has been made into a Hollywood blockbuster but Mee is still finds it strange to see an actor of Matt Damon's pedigree playing him.