Daniel Pearle was always going to have a tough job adapting his stage play A Kid Like Jake for the big-screen.
First of all, the script and its inhabitants needed to be expanded, which led to the creation of new characters like Alex’s mother Catherine, played by Ann Dowd, and Greg’s client Sandra, who is portrayed by Amy Landecker. Then there was the small matter of the titular character himself, as Jake wasn’t even in the play.
I recently had the opportunity to speak to Jim Parsons, who plays Greg in the drama and produced “A Kid Like Jake,” too, who admitted that making sure there was just enough Jake in the film was their biggest challenge.
“The biggest challenge was trying to figure out how to physically fit the character of Jake into the movie. Because he is not in the play at all.”
“As a theatrical device that works really well, because it highlights that the focus is on the plight of adults as they figure out what is best for a child that can’t fully express themselves and tell you what they need or want.”
“In the movie that could get a little too cute, and at some point you would get irritated that you are not seeing the child.”
“Finding that balance was really kind of a struggle, from the writing to the editing. We didn’t know if it was too much, or if you were seeing him just enough.”
“You didn’t want the audience to make their own judgment about him. Because that isn’t the point. It is really about the 3 main adults in Jake’s life trying to do what’s best for him and stumbling along the way.”
“If we allowed the audience to make their own concrete opinion about what they think then they would be taking sides.”
If you’re in New York, you can form your own opinion about Jake now, as “A Kid Like Jake” has just been released at the IFC Center. While the film will be available on DVD everywhere from June 8th.