Category Archives: Book to Big Screen

September 13, 2013

The Watsons Go to Birmingham Movie

Posted by at 11:13 am in Book to Big Screen | Permalink

watsonsBirmingham130The Watsons Go to Birmingham Movie

On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. A few weeks later, on September 15, a Baptist church in Birmingham, Alabama was bombed, and 4 little African-American girls inside were killed.

In The Watsons Go to Birmingham movie based on the book by Christopher Paul Curtis, that samewatsons2 summer, a fictional family named the Watsons traveled from their home in Michigan to stay with their grandparents in Birmingham. But Byron, Kenny, and Joetta were not used to the cruel way that African Americans were treated in the South at that time. It’s an eye-opening experience for them, but nothing compared to the fear and shock when tragedy strikes at church.

I remember very clearly the first time I read The Watsons Go to Birmingham, 1963. It is so good! I was so scared for little Joetta when that church got bombed and they couldn’t find her – oh my goodness! I’m not going to lie. I cried a little bit just watching the movie trailer.

watsonsIn spite of the seriousness, there are also some funny parts in this story. I remember laughing my actual head off when Byron got stuck to his father’s car while trying to kiss his reflection.

I had the chance to interview Christopher Paul Curtis for the STACKS, and he is hilarious in real life, too. (You can hear me laughing in the background of this video.) He has that rare gift as an author of mixing funny stories with serious topics that really make you think. I totally recommend all of his books!

The Watsons Go to Birmingham movie will air on the Hallmark Channel on September 20. I will definitely be watching. Will you?
image from kids.scholastic.comSonja, STACKS Staffer

Photos courtesy The Hallmark Channel

September 12, 2013

J.K. Rowling is Writing a Movie!

rowling130Harry Potter! Harry Potter!

Today, J.K. Rowling announced on her website that she is writing a screenplay for a new film series that will take place in the expanded Harry Potter universe and is inspired by Harry Potter’s textbook, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The movie series is said to focus on the book’s author, Newt Scamander. I thought I wouldn’t see the magical world of Harry Potter on the big screen after The Deathly Hallows Part 2, but boy, was I wrong!

J.K. Rowling explains more below:

“It all started when Warner Bros. came to me with the suggestion of turning Fantastic Beasts and fantasticBeasts_Where to Find Them into a film. I thought it was a fun idea, but the idea of seeing Newt Scamander, the supposed author of Fantastic Beasts, realized by another writer was difficult. Having lived for so long in my fictional universe, I feel very protective of it and I already knew a lot about Newt. As hard-core Harry Potter fans will know, I liked him so much that I even married his grandson, Rolf, to one of my favourite characters from the Harry Potter series, Luna Lovegood.

As I considered Warners’ proposal, an idea took shape that I couldn’t dislodge. That is how I ended up pitching my own idea for a film to Warner Bros.

Although it will be set in the worldwide community of witches and wizards where I was so happy for seventeen years, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter series, but an extension of the wizarding world. The laws and customs of the hidden magical society will be familiar to anyone who has read the Harry Potter books or seen the films, but Newt’s story will start in New York, seventy years before Harry’s gets underway.

. . . I always said that I would only revisit the wizarding world if I had an idea that I was really excited about and this is it.”

I’m so incredibly excited! J.K. Rowling is returning to the world of Harry Potter again! We don’t know yet when the first movie will come out or which stars will be in it, but I can hardly wait! What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the Comments below or head over to the Harry Potter Message Boards to continue the discussion!

image from kids.scholastic.comBrian, STACKS Writer (a.k.a. BlackBird268)

September 5, 2013

Dear Dumb Diary Movie Sneak Peek

Emily Alyn Lind in Dear Dumb DiaryDear Dumb Diary Movie Sneak Peek

Whatever you do, DON’T tell Jamie that Dear Dumb Diary is now a movie musical!

Rumor has it that the one-and-only Jamie Kelly, some of her best pals, worst enemies, and awesomely dumb diary are coming to a TV near you. You heard us right. You can tune into The Hallmark Channel at 8 p.m. on September 6th to watch as your favorite book characters come to life! You don’t even need to worry about your parents complaining that you’re staying up too late—it’s airing on a Friday, after all!

Anyway, since we’re sure you’re going to be crossing off the days until September 6th, we thought we’d share a sneak peek of some totally awesome photos from the movie set. Take a look! Continue reading

August 30, 2013

Dear Dumb Diary Movie!

Emily Alyn Lind in Dear Dumb DiaryDear Dumb Diary Movie!

You love the books. You’ve been anxiously waiting for September 6th so you can watch the movie. But more than anything, you’ve been wondering who on Earth could bring the awesomely awesome Jamie Kelly to life? Our sentiments exactly! So we sat down recently for a very special interview with Emily Alyn Lind, 11-year-old star of Dear Dumb Diary. Key takeaways? Movie stars like to read the books their movies are based on, too! Meet Emily Alyn Lind, star of Dear Dumb Diary, a Hallmark Channel Original Movie based on the Dear Dumb Diary book series!

Scholastic: What’s it like to bring a popular book character to life?
Emily
: I loved reading Jim Benton’s books, knowing that I would be portraying [Jamie]. It was almost like doing a movie based on a real story. The character already existed and it was my job to become Jamie Kelly. I really fell in love with Jamie in the books, so I couldn’t wait to play her.

Scholastic: Are you a lot like Jamie Kelly?
Emily:
I didn’t think I was much like Jamie until I got to set and started to become her. I can relate to her being a little different than the other kids in school, wanting to fit in, but at the same time wanting even more badly to be herself. I think that’s what a lot of Jr. High kids go through. I think a lot of girls will relate to Jamie, whether they are the popular kids, or the not-so-popular. She’s just trying to figure out who she is.

Scholastic: Do you keep a diary of your own?
Emily: 
I’ve always kept a journal from the time I could write. I love to write ANYTHING, but especially my feelings. It really helps to get your emotions onto a page, then read them back. You learn so much about yourself. Also, when you read about a time that was difficult from a couple years before, sometimes you realize that it really wasn’t that bad, that you got through it! I’m not as crazy as Jamie about hiding my journals or putting padlocks on them. I pretty much tell my family everything anyway, so it’s not a big deal if they want to sit down and read about my life!

Scholastic: What do you think are Jamie’s mom’s worst food-crimes?
Emily:
I love when Jamie walks into the kitchen and sees something still moving in a boiling pot of water. What I like about Jamie’s mom’s character is that she tries so hard to make her family happy. She’s a really good mom, just not a great cook! It’s OK; my family is usually so busy that we get take-out sushi almost every night. As long as we’re all eating as a family, it doesn’t matter what it is we’re eating!

Scholastic: Do you have any pets? Are they like Stinker at all?
Emily:
I love when I’m asked about pets because it’s my favorite subject! My dog’s name is Georgie. She’s a 5 lb. blonde Maltipoo, and she is my life! I have so much fun when my characters own pets because it makes me think of Georgie. Georgie isn’t as stinky as Stinker, but she hangs out in my room a lot and I talk to her the same way. Next to my sisters, she’s really my best friend. Because Jamie is an only child, I think Stinker IS her best friend.

Scholastic: Who is the Isabella in your life?
Emily:
It might sound kind of corny, but I’m really close to my sisters, Natalie and Aly. I tell them everything and we’re so different and alike at the same time . . . just like Isabella. We can disagree about things, but then the next day we’re laughing and best friends again. It’s so important to have a best friend, someone you can share everything with. In Isabella’s case, she may not always do the right thing, but in the end, we have each other’s backs.

Scholastic: When you’re not on set or in school, what are your favorite hobbies?
Emily: 
I love to sing, write music, play guitar, make music videos, anything music related! We also produce our own movies at home. We take turns writing, directing, and starring in them. We just made a horror/comedy that was actually pretty good!
Every week, we have family movie night where we rent an old movie. My mom wants us to know all of the classics. One of my faves is Airplane (rated PG), which was directed by our Executive Producer Jerry Zucker. It’s probably the funniest movie ever made!

Scholastic: What are you reading right now?
Emily:
I’m actually finishing up the Dear Dumb Diary book series right now! I was given all the books but only got through the first half during production. I love seeing where Jamie is heading. She’s such a funny and unpredictable character. I feel so lucky to be playing her. I can’t wait to see what she’s up to next!

Dear Dumb Diary airs on the Hallmark Channel Friday, September 6th at 8 p.m. Watch the trailer now!

August 23, 2013

Swindle

Swindle book cover by Gordon KormanSwindle Series and Movie

In Swindle by Gordon Korman, an evil collector cons Griffin out of a million-dollar baseball card so he unites a ragtag group of his classmates to take down the swindler. It’s a valiant adventure that will take them through a daring heist, a vicious dog, crazy inventions, and a superb acting performance, but throughout it all, the kids have to bring their skills together as a team to get justice. Swindle is the perfect combination of action and adventure, but it is also funny and true-to-life at the same time.

There are 5 other books in the Swindle series: ZoobreakFramed, ShowoffHideout, and Jackpot. And . . .did you know there is a movie version, too? Look’s who’s in it: Jennette McCurdy and Ariana Grande from Sam & Cat; Noah Crawford and Chris O’Neal from How to Rock; Ciara Bravo from Big Time Rush; and iCarly’s Noah MunckSwindle movie cast photo

Ariana Grande in Swindle

And to get even more psyched, play the Swindle Spot the Difference Game. (I only got 3 out of 9. This game is IMPOSSIBLE!)

Are you a Swindle fan? Have you seen the movie? Let us know in the Comments.
image from kids.scholastic.comSonja, STACKS Staffer

August 1, 2013

SPONSORED POST Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2

Posted by at 3:12 am in Book to Big Screen, SPONSORED | Permalink

cloudy2_130SPONSORED POST Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2
This entry is sponsored by Sony Pictures Animation.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, the new super-size sequel from Sony Pictures Animation, will be hitting the big screen on September 27, 2013. This animated comedy, which picks up where the original hit movie left off, sounds like a lot of fun, and introduces us to wild food-animal hybrids called Foodimals. Read on for more about the movie!

cloudy2_blog_image1_250x250

In Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, the inventor genius of Flint Lockwood is finally being recognized as he’s invited by his idol Chester V to join the Live Corp. Company, where the best and brightest inventors in the world create technologies for the betterment of mankind. Chester’s right-hand-gal and one of his greatest inventions is Barb (a highly evolved orangutan with a human brain, who is also devious, manipulative, and likes to wear lipstick). It’s always been Flint’s dream to be recognized as an inventor, but everything changes when he discovers that his most infamous machine (which turned water into food in the original movie) is still operating, and is now creating food-animal hybrids, “FOODIMALS!”

cloudy2_blog_image2_250x250With the fate of humanity in his hands, Chester sends Flint and his friends on a dangerously delicious mission to save the world again! Enter a WILD new world of crazy creations: hungry tacodiles, shrimpanzees, apple piethons, double bacon cheespiders, watermeolphants, fruit cockatiels, bananostriches, cucumbirdies, flamangos, just to name a few.

If you could have a food-animal hybrid as a pet, what would it be named, and what special features would it have? Leave your answers in the Comments.

This entry is sponsored by Sony Pictures Animation.
Images provided by Sony Pictures Animation. © 2013 Sony Pictures Animation. All Rights Reserved.

July 26, 2013

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters Actors

percyjackson2_130Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters Actors

A few weeks ago, we gave you the inside story on the new Percy Jackson movie Sea of Monsters (rated PG) in an interview with Annabeth and Clarisse. Now we have the guys’ point of view in an interview with Logan Lerman who plays Percy, and Brandon T. Jackson who plays Grover.

Q: Did you ever read Greek mythology before filming the movies?pj2movie
LOGAN: I did read Greek mythology in 7th or 8th grade in school and I always liked it. The one that I really liked, thought was really clever, was the myth about how Athens was named after Athena and the battles she had, and then how she used her wisdom to lure the people of Athens into naming the city after her. I always thought that was cool.
BRANDON: I like The Iliad. I’m a big fan of that. I like the Achilles story. I think that’s a really cool story, you know, the fact that he was dipped in the water by the gods up to his ankles, I mean up to his Achilles heel, and that was his weak point. Yeah, that’s one of my favorite ones. By the way, I hate the word “myths” because I can’t say it with the “s.”  I don’t know why.

Q: If you could be any character in the Percy movies in real life, who would you be?
LOGAN: I would probably be Poseidon or Zeus. I think they’re pretty cool.

Q: Could you talk about the satyr costume?
BRANDON: I had to wear a beard. Have you looked at the horns? And the beard is not real; it’s definitely fake. With the goat, it was like tight pants with little socks on them and I had to create a walk that resembled hind legs.

Q: What was the most fun scene to shoot during the movie?
LOGAN: With a big adventure film, you really can’t go wrong with any day you’re working. It’s a pretty fun set all the time. One of the things I had a lot of fun in particularly, just to name one, was Polyphemus’ Island. We had this cool heist scene, trying to get the fleece from Polyphemus. And we had a really good time shooting that. And it was a character I was really excited for the fans to see. So we had a lot of fun with it.

Q: You filmed at an amusement park in New Orleans. How was that experience, especially during the night shoots?
LOGAN: Alligators. Mosquitoes.
BRANDON: We had to move 25 alligators before the shoot. It was kind of scary. I like outside stuff, but I don’t deal with alligators.
LOGAN: It was pretty grueling and we were shooting at basically a swamp. They pumped out all the water, took out the alligators, laid down a little bit of dirt and said, “Let’s shoot.” And we were shooting night shoots five days a week, basically, from 7 pm to 7 am, and it was like 90 degrees with humidity. At 3 in the morning. It was pretty grueling, but at the same time, fun. It’s epic. It’s huge, huge setups and end of the world, epic battle scenes. So we had a good time.

Interview by Samantha McCann
Movie image courtesy of 20th Century Fox

July 24, 2013

SPONSORED POST: Scholastic TV Shows

Posted by at 3:06 pm in Book to Big Screen | Permalink

Netflix_130THIS POST IS SPONSORED BY Scholastic Media
Shows Based on Your Favorite Scholastic Books!

Aside from enjoying time at the beach or poolside, you may be catching up on your favorite TV shows on your summer vacation. If so, we have some exciting news for you. TV episodes inspired by your favorite Scholastic book series are now available for streaming on Netflix. If you’re a fan of Goosebumps, The Baby-sitters Club, Dear America or Horrible Histories and your family has a Netflix streaming subscription, you’ll definitely want to watch on-screen adaptations of your favorite characters and stories.

Check out our guide to the shows based on your favorite book series.

  • Get Goosebumps watching R.L. Stine’s frightful tales such as “It Came from Beneath the Sink,” “Piano Lessons Can Be Murder,” “Say Cheese and Die,” “Night of the Living Dummy,” “Welcome to Camp Nightmare,” and more.
  • Catch up with Kristy, Claudia, Dawn, Mary Anne, and Stacey and their adventures in friendship and baby-sitting with The Baby-sitters Club. Join the girls as they uncover an ancient feud, help Stacey break into modeling, explore a mysterious haunted house, challenge the boys in baby-sitting, and more.
  • Be enthralled with the fictional, yet inspirational stories of young women at different points in American history with Dear America. Watch your favorite stories come to life including “A Picture of Freedom,” “A Journey to the New World,” “The Winter in Red Snow,” “When Will This Cruel War Be Over?” and more.
  • Want to learn the unusual, gory-yet-true facts about history? If so, you’ll love Horrible Histories! Join Stitch, Mo, and Darren as they are taught valuable lessons with the help of some of the most famous characters from the past such as Elizabeth I, Louis XIV, Julius Caesar, and Montezuma. Welcome to history the way they don’t teach you in school!

THIS POST IS SPONSORED BY Scholastic Media

June 28, 2013

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

percyjackson2_130Meet Clarisse and Annabeth from Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters movie!

Hold onto your tridents because the second movie in the Percy Jackson series is coming out on August 7 (just in time for Percy’s birthday on August 18)! Sea of Monsters (rated PG) will continue the adventures of Percy, Grover, and Annabeth as they explore more Ancient Greek legends in our modern world. We got interviews with 2 of the actors in the movie who play Annabeth and Clarisse, so here are Alexandra Daddario and Leven Rambin talking about what it was like to make this movie.

Q: Describe your character in Sea of Monsters.
Alexandra:
I play Annabeth. My character is the daughter of Athena. I came back for the second film in sort of a different character. Same character but a little bit of a different side of her. You see a more vulnerable, sensitive side of Annabeth in this film, whereas in the first film, she was a lot tougher and more of a warrior. In this film you really see what makes her tick, and you see her sweetness and trength as well.
Leven: Clarisse is the daughter of the god of war. And she’s just like a big, fat, ugly bully. (laughter) And so that was something to try to incorporate into my physicality and into my attitude. I think she’s a really good counterpart to Annabeth in this movie. She kind of highlights Percy’s weaknesses. And she learns a lot about teamwork and accepting help from others.

Q: If you could be any of the characters in the Percy movies in real life, which would you pick?
Alexandra: I mean, I love playing Annabeth. I think Percy Jackson has the coolest powers, you know – the ability to control water. I think that some of the shots in the film where he’s controlling these walls of water and controlling the ocean are so epic and cool. I think that’s a really cool power.
Leven: I also like playing Clarisse, just because she’s somewhat of a normal girl, but she has an extraordinary ego and ability to be victorious. She’s just very able. Percy’s physical power with the water is really powerful. And I think that that would be the coolest thing to have.

Percy-Annabeth_PJ2

Q: You filmed part of the movie at an abandoned amusement park in New Orleans. What was that like?
Alexandra: I thought that was insanely cool. I mean, I had never been to New Orleans before we went down to shoot there. It was so devastated by Hurricane Katrina. And it’s this whole amusement park that’s still standing, but it’s completely abandoned. It was filled with alligators before we went; they had to get rid of alligators and armadillos and bugs everywhere. It’s a really cool place to shoot because, you know, you don’t have to build the creepiness level. It’s already there. So you’re shooting a really cinematic, creepy place. There was a lot to explore. It’s going to look amazing on screen. We did some really incredible stunts on the roller coaster there. And it was a really, was a really interesting experience to be able to shoot there.
Leven: Yeah, it was. It had its challenges because it was so old and dingy and felt kind of haunted. But that was kind of good because it’s supposed to be this ominous place where all the action happens. It’s this cool backdrop of this old rickety thing. And then these amazing monsters are there and these epic fights happen against the backdrop of this crazy old, like, abandoned roller coaster. I agree it was, like, super beautiful on screen.  It kind of had its own story, its own life to it. It’s like a big character in the movie.

Q: What was the most difficult scene to shoot in this movie? 
Alexandra: I love making these movies. I think the hardest parts for me were the night shoots in the park because you start late and then you’re sitting in the mud, and getting eaten by bugs. And it’s either too cold or too hot, depending what time of the year you’re shooting.  It’s a great challenge, and I love my job. But I would say that posed the biggest challenge for me – just dealing with the elements.

Q: In what ways are you and your character alike?
Leven: I definitely think I’m a tomboy. I discovered that about myself a lot to play Clarisse. I was able to really transform physically to be something different than I’ve ever been. And I also related a lot to that side of myself. She’s definitely very prideful. I really don’t take myself that seriously. So it was fun playing up this side of myself that I don’t really have, but maybe I got a little bit from playing her.
Alexandra: Annabeth is a combination of strength and weakness like we all are.  During some of my fight scenes, I get to bring out my inner tough girl. I don’t normally have sword fights where I beat people up. But that’s the pretty cool part of myself that I didn’t know I had, this very intense action hero type. And I think also, I’m weak just like anybody else, and I have my vulnerabilities.  It’s interesting to play both her strengths and weaknesses, and find strengths within her weakness.

If you liked this interview, also read our interview with the Sea of Monsters actors, Logan Lerman and Brandon T. Jackson.

— Sonja, STACKS Staffer

Interview by Nicole Tocco
Movie Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox

June 21, 2013

Asa Butterfield

Posted by at 11:51 am in Book to Big Screen, Celebrities | Permalink

AsaAsa Butterfield

If you saw the Hugo movie (rated PG) based on The Invention of Hugo Cabret, then you will recognize the British actor Asa Butterfield. He is only 16-years-old but already, he has made a bunch of movies that were once books, like The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (rated PG-13) and Ender’s Game (coming next November). Not only is he a great actor and a big reader, he’s got some other interests too. Read on.

Q: If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?
Asa: Oh, this is a tough question. If I could change one thing in the world, I mean, the obvious thing is probably to end poverty. That would be the top of my list.

Q: I found out about Red Nose Day because of One Direction. Did you participate in that?
Asa: Yeah. I think pretty much everyone in the U.K. does that. My school, we have Non-School Uniform Day and everyone has to come in wearing something red and then you donate. So that was fun.

Q: I also read that you’re into writing music.
Asa: Music is such a big part of my life. I couldn’t live without it. I’m almost constantly listening to music when I’m not in school. When I’m doing work, I listen to music as well. But I like all sorts. I like dance music. I like hip hop. I like funk. I like jazz. It’s a really wide range of genres. I use Logic [software]. I really enjoy making house music, like old school house and garage, that sort of thing.

Just a typical British teenager – who happens to be a movie star!