I know you guys are huge fans of Cornelia Funke‘s books, especially Inkheart. (And you’re not alone, given that the book spent some time on the New York Times best-seller list! That just means you’ve got good taste, right?) Well, as I’m sure all you Inkheart-lovers know, there’s a film adaptation of the novel due out on January 23, 2009.
A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be one of the first non-Warner Brothers people to see the official movie poster for Inkheart — which I promptly shared with you guys, of course! Well, now I’ve got another scoop for you: an interview with Brendan Fraser about playing Mo in the Inkheart film!
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to meet Brendan Fraser myself — or maybe fortunately, since I probably would have been too speechless to actually conduct the interview professionally. But I did get the 411 from the person at Scholastic who set up the interview, and here are some choice tidbits for your reading pleasure:
What attracted you to the script for Inkheart?
Cornelia Funke sent me a copy of the novel, and I was not aware of it. It was, uh, inscribed quite flatteringly with words that, in effect, said that I had inspired the character of Mortimer Folchart (or Mo) and she hoped that one day that I’d have the chance to read it aloud to my kids.
I don’t know if you’ve read the book or not, but it’s about a little girl who’s been traveling with her father for some ten-odd years and mysteriously, the mother is gone or is absent. And together,
unbeknownst to her, they find a copy of a book called Inkheart, and she learns that her father has kept a simple secret for years — and that is that he has the unusual ability to read aloud from a book and elements of it come into a very real world. But there’s a pay-off: sometimes things from our very real world disappear. Also, and unfortunately, when his daughter was very young, he was reading aloud to her and her mother disappeared into the world of the book.
So he finds a copy of this, and, as elated as he is, it doesn’t work anymore; he can’t get it right. We also learn this . . . dark underbelly to the story, that some of the characters who came out of the book are looking for him. They want to get him so they can do things like, oh, One Thousand and One Nights because they’re a little light on cash; they’ve built up a criminal empire for themselves . . .
It’s been written into a trilogy, and since then shot in film, about a year and a half ago . . . It’s a great cast: it’s Helen Mirren and Jim Broadbent and Paul Bettany and Andy Serkis, and it introduces some fine young talent. Oh, by the way, I’m in it; I play Mortimer.
What was your favorite book as a kid?
Oh, going way back, I started off with Dr. Seuss . . . I had many favorites. Let’s see . . . I grew into Roald Dahl pretty quickly.
Which Dahl book stands out for you?
Danny, the Champion of the World. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
If there was one character you could read to life from a book, who would it be?
Wow. I don’t know . . . After having done Inkheart, I’m not quite sure I would want any of them to tell you the truth! (laughs) . . . Um, well, you know what? I’ll defer to the author of Inkheart — and that’s Cornelia, who’s a friend — and I know that she told me she had a big crush on Tom Sawyer when she was a kid. (laughs)
Is there anything else you want to say about the movie?
If there’s as much enthusiasm for the novel as there is for the film, that would be really nice because I think it’s worthy of attention . . . It’s a really great touchstone to get the greatest hits out — what to read, in a way, because each chapter is introduced with a passage from a different novel. And then within the novel itself, it makes references to other literature . . .
I think it’s a story about a family reuniting, and they do — but under quite mysterious circumstances. I don’t want to spoil it for you or the readers of this, but it is really quite thrilling the way it’s done.
My fondest aspiration for the story is that it makes its way to the screen and is just on its merit, as a film. Having done it for 20 years now, people love films, people despise films — it doesn’t really matter to me what they think of this one because it got made. And it got made because it was based on source material that’s just . . . it’s classic. My hope is that people will go and find the book and then take it from there. And parents should find it interesting also for that reason —because on the jacket, on the back, it says, “Dare to read it aloud,” and it’s a novel that’s meant to be read aloud. And the activity — the actual ritual, if you will, or practice of reading to children aloud —
has a really narrow window, when you think about how time flies. And this is one of those ones that will appeal to the parents and the children. I think, in a way, it has a subtle message promoting
literacy, which is always good — without making you feel like, you know, eat your vegetables!
— Karen, STACKS Staffer
Interview conducted by Nick Friedman of Parent and Child Magazine. Full article to appear in December 2008 issue.
Photos and movie trailer courtesy of Warner Brothers.