Charlie Rowe’s new feature film, “Gigi & Nate,” was inspired by a true story. Some of the elements were changed but the heart of the story about a young man who is left a quadriplegic after an accident and gets a monkey as a service animal remains true.

“The character of Nate is based on this guy named Ned Rogers. There was a book written by Ned’s mother about Ned’s relationship with his monkey, Casey. So the film was loosely based on that,” Rowe says.

Because his character in the film was loosely based on Rogers, Rowe decided that he would develop the best way to play Nate Gibson based on his own ideas and added to conversations he had with Rogers. He also leaned heavily on the script by David Hudgins (“Friday Night Lights”).

The feature film, scheduled to open in theaters on Sept. 2, starts with free-spirited teen Nate Gibson (Rowe) celebrating an Independence Day vacation with his family. His ill-fated decision to leap off a high peak into the clear waters below leaves with amoebic meningitis and fighting for his life.

Nate ends up wheelchair-bound. The fact he is unable to live a life that resembles that he had before leaves Nate frustrated and angry to the point of deep depression. That changes when his family decides to get him a service animal.

Gigi is a once-mistreated capuchin monkey rescued from a petting zoo. The new primate friend causes friction in the house but proves a lifesaver for Nate. But, a legal battle with animal rights activists puts the friendship in danger.

Taking on the role of Nate came with all of the challenges that face any actor playing a role. The demands on the London native were compounded by having to do most of his work while confined to a wheelchair and having to deal with the whims of an animal as a co-star.

Preparation for working while in a wheelchair took far more research for Rowe than preparing to work with the monkey.

“I was trying to do justice to the disabled community so that took a lot of research,” Rowe says. “But, there was a lot of delicacy in terms of dealing with the monkey.

“I really didn’t know what research I could do until I met the monkey. That all came from working with the monkey wranglers and all the people who worked with Allie, the real name of the monkey.”

Man and beast began working together three weeks before filming started. They spent time together putting Allie through certain tasks designed to allow Rowe and Allie to get to know each other better.

Rowe was given some advice from Jim Belushi who plays Nate’s father. He told Rowe to make sure his acting was perfect every time the cameras were rolling because getting the scene always came down to whether or not the monkey did his work properly.

Rowe had another co-actor with which he worked closely as Marcia Gay Harden plays his determined mother. A strong mother-son relationship was needed and that came very easy to Rowe. He found working with Harden to be both a great acting and learning experience.

“I really feel protected by her. It was very important for us to have a connection at the beginning so we spent as much time as we could with each other, talking to each other,” Rowe says. “It feels like it has benefited our relationship on screen, I hope it comes across that way.

“Being part of an ensemble is entertaining and we’re lucky with everyone we have. Even the monkey.”

Rowe came to “Gigi & Nate” with numerous credits that didn’t include a wheelchair or animal acting partner. His theater credits include the West End production of “The Snowman,” Lindsay Posner’s “The Winslow Boy” at The Old Vic and “The Judas Kiss,” directed by Neil Armfield, which was staged in Toronto and New York.

His work in films includes “The Golden Compass,” “The Boat That Rocked,” “Never Let Me Go” and “Rocketman.” TV credits are “Vanity Fair,” “Salvation” and the upcoming “Angelyne.”

Asked if he now believes in the Hollywood adage of never working with animals or children or he has debunked that idea, Rowe looks at the whole experience as being “fascinating.”

“She [Allie] is so unpredictable that there are some scenes that you can’t replicate because of what she brought to it that day,” Rowe says. “I found it an easy shoot overall.”

The cast of “Gigi & Nate” also includes Josephine Langford, Hannah Riley, Zoe Colletti and Diane Ladd.