Judy Blume's 'Tiger Eyes' heads to the big screen, prompting the question: Which of her other books should become a movie?
Believe it or not, none of Judy Blume's books has ever been made into a full-scale feature film. Until now.
The Hollywood Reporter has broken the news that Blume's young-adult novel "Tiger Eyes" -- about a teen girl grappling with the death of her father and developing a relationship with an American Indian boy -- will become a movie. Blume has co-written the screenplay with her son, Lawrence Blume, who will direct the picture.
To clarify: This isn't the first time that one of Blume's popular, beloved tales has been adapted. As THR points out, a few have gotten the television treatment -- Fudge had his own series, there were a couple of ABC specials and "Forever" became a TV movie in the '70s. But none has ever played the cineplex circuit, largely because Blume, understandably, has been extremely careful about signing away the rights to her stories.
But if "Tiger Eyes" goes well and Blume decides to allow more of her books to morph into motion pictures, which ones should she choose? Some suggestions after the jump.
Potential adaptation: "Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret."
The concept: A sixth-grade girl grapples with the hazards of hitting puberty. A movie that addresses the curiosity and anguish of "becoming a woman" could be fantastic, if the story is updated with the same frankness found in Blume's revered novel and not watered down and Disney-fied.
The creative team: Get Tina Fey to bring her wry "Mean Girls" humor to the table, or ask Catherine Hardwicke to bring the same indie rawness to this story that she brought to "Thirteen." Cast a young newcomer as Margaret, and Renee Zellweger -- we've already established that she needs a good project -- as the mother helping to introduce Margaret to womanhood. Or, if Zellweger's not available, how about Sarah Jessica Parker? She knows something about sex, doesn't she?
The upside: If done well, a "Margaret" movie could be a major touchstone for girls. Also, a certain "Lost" character would be super-excited.
The downside: A lousy adaptation could tarnish the book's legacy a little bit, especially if it becomes that crummy menstruation movie that every middle-schooler is forced to watch during sex ed.
Potential adaptation: "Blubber"
The concept: An overweight fifth-grader becomes the object of bullying and ridicule, but proves she's all too willing to become the bully when the tables get turned. It's too bad this can't be greenlit and made right this second; a film about bullying coudn't possibly be more timely.
The creative team: Perhaps the astute, offbeat Todd Solondz would be willing to take this on, as a more mainstream return to his "Welcome to the Dollhouse" roots? Or maybe "The Kids Are All Right's" Lisa Chodolenko would be game.
The upside: While bullying may be topical, the issues surrounding it are timeless and rarely depicted in mainstream movies in an authentic way. "Blubber" would provide an opportunity to change that.
The downside: If not handled with the proper care, this could easily turn into a forgettable comedy that teaches its lessons in a heavy-handed manner. You know, like most big-studio coming-of-age movies.
Potential adaptation: "Deenie"
The concept: A teenager is pressured by her mother to become a model but finds that dream impossible to achieve when she receives a diagnosis of scoliosis and is forced to wear a back brace. Like so many of Blume's books, this is another one that tackles issues -- how we define female beauty from a young age among them -- that remain relevant.
The creative team: It's unclear if she'd want to take on something like this, but Debra Granik -- who directed the most memorable teen female of 2010 in "Winter's Bone" -- might bring an interesting indie spirit to the project. So would Nicole Holofcener, who -- in movies like "Friends With Money" and the more recent "Please Give" -- portrays women in an honest, refreshing way. Of course, Holofcener's involvement guarantees that Catherine Keener would be cast as Deenie's mom. Which is fine by me. Also fine by me? If this shoots in a couple of years -- putting Elle Fanning, soon to be seen in Sofia Coppola's "Somewhere," in the lead role.
The upside: Again, if done well, another touchstone film for young females. Hey, if all three of the books I've mentioned so far get adapted, Blume could become the John Hughes for the female members of the smart-phone generation.
The downside: A movie about a girl with scoliosis could be a hard sell, and may sound a little too "Afterschool Special" for some major studios to consider.
Potential adaption: "Freckle Juice"
The concept: A young boy is desperate to get freckles, and gullibly ingests a classmate's concoction in the hopes of a breakout. This is basically a short story, but a cute one that could be fleshed out and turned into a charming animated feature.
The creative team: Give this one to Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the young directing duo that made "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs."
The upside: An entertaining cartoon for the kids, and a story nostalgic enough for their parents to want to see it. It's win-win, Hollywood.
The downside: Trying to think of one ... nope. Can't do it.
Which of these Blume projects would you most like to see happen? Or is there another of her books that deserves feature treatment first? Post a comment to share your opinion/elevator pitch.
| October 19, 2010; 10:20 AM ET
Categories: Books, Movies, Pop Culture
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