Best-selling author Judy Blume hits big screen, finally
After numerous starts and stops by Hollywood executives to bring Judy Blume’s books onto the big screen, the best-selling author and her filmmaker son decided to make it happen.
The film adaptation of her 1981 young adult book “Tiger Eyes” opens in theaters Friday and simultaneously on iTunes, DirecTV and On-Demand.
It was a family project, with Blume and her son, Lawrence Blume, writing the screenplay and producing the film. Lawrence directed the movie and Blume’s husband of 26 years, George Cooper, was executive producer of the independently financed $2 million project.
“Tiger Eyes” is about a teenager named Davey, whose family moved from New Jersey to Los Alamos, N.M., to start a new life after the murder of her father.
“It sort of mirrored my own story of being pulled away from my life, my friends and my father in New Jersey and moving to this strange town of Los Alamos,” said Lawrence, who directed the 2002 comedy film “Martin & Orloff.”
Blume divorced his father, remarried, and moved Lawrence and his sister to New Mexico in the late 1970s.
The New York-based filmmaker collaborated with his mother, who lives in Key West, Fla., mainly by email and telephone.
“The biggest challenge was taking the book’s first person inner monologue narrative and figuring out how to turn that into an actionable behavior that actors can play,” he added.
Blume, 75, has sold more than 82 million books in 41 countries. Earlier attempts to make a feature film based on one of Blume’s books had failed, said Lawrence, 50.
When British supermarket giant Tesco got into the film business a few years ago, Lawrence made a deal for “Tiger Eyes.”
Working with his mother, he said, was “kind of magical.”
“We don’t live in the same city anymore, so it was really nice to be able to spend a lot of time with her,” Lawrence said. “There was a joyful feeling on the set.”
Shooting began in Santa Fe in the fall of 2010 with “Gossip Girl” actress Willa Holland and Amy Jo Johnson, who starred in the TV series “Felicity.”
Blume said she would like to see big screen versions of her adult novels “Summer Sisters” and “Wifey.” She is also working on a novel she began before production on “Tiger Eyes” began.
“Writers don’t stop writing,” said Blume. “So I want to continue to do more of the same.”