August 18 is Percy Jackson’s birthday, so to celebrate, we have a Trivia Quiz. How well do you know the birthday boy/demi-god? You can find the answers in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan. I’m pretty sure you knew that already, but I thought I would say it just in case you’ve been living on another planet for the last 10 years.
Rick Riordan introduces new demigod heroes in latest mythological adventure series. . . With another prophecy, more enemies, and three new demigods, author Rick Riordan is back and kicks off his new series, The Heroes of Olympus, with The Lost Hero.
If you are a Percy Jackson fan, then you probably already know about Rick Riordan’s new series, The Heroes of Olympus. Well, book #1 is available now, and a Scholastic Kid Reporter gives us this review.
“Author Rick Riordan is back and is even better than ever! His new book The Lost Hero has finally been released. Although based on stories from Greek mythology similar to his Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, The Lost Hero is not exactly a sequel. It introduces new characters and different concepts.”
Have you read The Lost Hero? What do you think? Is it as good as the Percy Jackson books? Let us know in the Comments.
Many of you already heard this rumor before, but now it’s officially official. I read it on Rick Riordan’s blog so you know it’s for real. Rick Riordan — author of Percy Jackson & the Olympians and The 39 Clues Book#1: The Maze of Bones — is writing a NEW Camp Half-Blood series with a whole new posse of demigods. The series will be called The Heroes of Olympus, and the title of Book #1 is. . . The Lost Hero.
Riordan reveals nothing on his blog about the series, no hints, no sneak peeks, not even the book cover, nothing except this little intro which only makes me more impatient for the book! (But it’s still better than nothing.)
“After saving Olympus from the evil Titan lord, Kronos, Percy and friends have rebuilt their beloved Camp Half-Blood, where the next generation of demigods must now prepare for a chilling prophecy of their own:
Seven half-bloods shall answer the call,
To storm or fire the world must fall.
An oath to keep with a final breath,
And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death.”
Here is the date you need to remember: October 12, 2010. That’s when the book comes out. I know it seems like a long time, but don’t forget we have another totally new Rick Riordan series The Kane Chronicles coming in May, so at least we will have something else really great to read while we’re waiting!
Rick Riordan photo © Rebecca Riordan
Rick Riordan’s The Lightning Thief movie features Logan Lerman and Brandon T. Jackson. Last week we brought you an interview with Alexandra Daddario who plays Annabeth. Some of you are less than pleased with the ways the movie will be different from the book. But for those of you who are still really excited about the movie anyway. . . here’s some more! We chatted with Logan Lerman who plays Percy, and Brandon T. Jackson who plays Grover. First let’s hear from Logan. . .
Q: Were you a fan of the Percy Jackson books before you were cast in the movie?
Logan: No, I actually didn’t know anything about them and then I asked around to my younger cousins, and I guess it is a huge thing for the younger generation. Because Harry Potter is more for the older teens now, and the younger kids want to find something for themselves.
[Ratha: Interesting. I never thought of it that way.]
Q: Did you read any of them after you got the part?
Logan: Yeah I read the first one. I didn’t invest any time in the other four yet, because I hate to read them and get so attached to them if we’re not doing the sequel. So once they greenlight number two, I’ll be reading all of them!
Q: Describe Percy. What’s he like?
Logan: An unlikely hero. You don’t expect the hero to be some teenager in Brooklyn, and he ends up saving the world.
[Ratha: Hmm. . . my Spidey senses are tingling. Except I think that was Queens.]
Q: What do you think kids can learn from Percy?
Logan: It’s that you can be anyone and make a difference. It doesn’t matter how old you are or what you look like — you can make a difference in any situation.
Q: Did you get to do any of your own stunts?
Logan: Oh I did all of them. Our goal was to try to use the actual actors as much as possible. [With the lightning bolt shooting parts] we’re actually flying around on wires in this huge stage in a 360 green-screen stage and doing all this stuff, and they’re just adding in the effects later. So when you’re watching and you’re thinking, “Oh is that really them?” It really is us.
[Ratha: Now you can add "Lightning Bolt Battle" to your resume!]
Q: Is this the first really big action film that you’ve done?
Logan: Yeah, yeah it is. I’ve done a few other films but nothing as grand as this. Not as much green-screen involved and insane action sequences. This is an amazing movie. I haven’t read any script as action packed as this one.
Q: Do you have a “favorite” god or goddess?
Logan: I’ve gotten this a few times. I’m still sticking with Poseidon, and Percy’s the coolest too. To be able control the seas and horses — I just think that’s awesome.
Q: Is there any other character in this book that you would have liked to play also?
Logan: I think Grover is just a lot of fun. There’s so much you can do with that character, that it’s just a playground for any actor. Brandon T. Jackson makes that character come alive in such a cool way.
[Ratha: What a perfect way to segue into Part II of our interview with. . . none other than Brandon T. Jackson, who plays Grover. We started with the same question. Notice the similarity in answers.]
Q: Were you a fan of the Percy Jackson books before you were cast in the movie?
Brandon: You know I didn’t even know about the Percy Jackson books at first until my little sister had it at the house and I’m like, “What is this Percy Jackson book?” and then when I found out they were doing a movie, I went back and I read the books and I was like, “Whoah.”
Q: Did you have to train before starting the film?
Brandon: Yeah they put me, Logan and Alex [who plays Annabeth] through a three-week boot camp. We learned sword fighting and dagger work. We had to lift weights and get in shape. I have crutches in the film, so I had to learn how to fight with my crutches.
[Ratha: Wow sword fighting boot camp? One of the perks of being an actor!]
Q: They CGI your legs later on in the film?
Brandon: Yeah, it’s CGI but it looks so cool. It looks so real. People are gonna flip when they see it.
Q: Is there any other character you would have liked to portray other than Grover?
Brandon: Uh-uh. I couldn’t have. Grover is so me. If it wasn’t Grover, I just would have been a fan of the books and the movie.
Q: What do you think about the comparisons to Harry Potter?
Brandon: I guess I’m Rupert [the actor plays Ron]. [laughs] It is like Harry Potter but not really. It’s done well, like the first Harry Potter movie was done really well. Chris Columbus has a habit of doing things really well.
[Ratha: Chris Columbus is the director of The Lightning Thief, and also directed the first Harry Potter movie.]
Brandon: Of course you can compare it in a way but at the same time, Percy Jackson is its own story. There’s a different movie, different sound, different adventure. It takes place in present day, and it’s not British.
Q: Is there a character from any other book that you would like to play?
Brandon: Besides Grover I can’t think of one, because fantasy is my thing. I love fantasy movies, I love magical movies and it’s weird because being African American has different literature. You have African American literature you learn about in school, you have your mainstream or whatever. And I went to a multi-racial school so I would learn about everything. I never understand. Man, why don’t I ever see a brother, a black man in fantasy? So I’m writing my own children’s fantasy book. It’s an African American story but at the same time it’s for everybody.
[Ratha: That's so exciting. I'll definitely be watching out for it.]
Brandon: Certain fantasy movies, African Americans are there, but we’re not there. Like if you watch Harry Potter we’re there, but not the leads. We don’t drive the story. But you know it’s life. It’s nothing to complain about, I’m just telling you it’s fact. So I’m excited to break that barrier. Will Smith did it with the aliens. But I wanna be the first with the magical lane which is pretty tough to do.
Personally, I think I’m going to have nightmares about Medusa’s hair. What about you guys? Planning to see the movie? Big fan of the books? Let me know in the Comments! Until next time, may the gods look favorably upon you!
— Ratha, Stacks Writer
Interview by Marie Morreale
Photos courtesy of 20th Century Fox
OK, people, the Percy Jackson movie is just 2 weeks away. The Lightning Thief (rated PG) is coming to theaters on February 12. Yay!! Between now and then, we will be bringing you interviews with some of the cast. . . starting with. . . Annabeth played by the 23-year-old actress, Alexandra Daddario. I know, Annabeth is only supposed to be 12-years-old in the book, but we have to remember what author, Rick Riordan says: “Try to enjoy the story without getting too worked up about any differences.” (For more on that subject, read our movie vs. book comparison.) So for right now, let’s meet Alex with an open mind, ok?
Q: Were you a fan of the Percy Jackson books before you were cast?
Alexandra: I actually had not heard of them before the audition. I read the first book before my screen test and loved it. I’m glad that I got introduced to them because they’re amazing.
Q: Do you have a favorite character besides your own in the books?
Alexandra: My character’s pretty great. I mean Percy is of course a great character. Poseidon is a great character as well. The gods are very interesting and the great thing about Greek mythology is the gods make mistakes, they’re more human. So they do mischievous things and they have arguments and get jealous. So some of the gods are very interesting, Ares especially. In the movie he’s a very fun character.
Q: What’s the best memory that you’re going to take away with you after this experience?
Alexandra: There’s a lot. This movie completely changed my life in a great way. It’s a once in a lifetime movie and working with some of the greatest people that you can work with. Chris Columbus [the director] is amazing. So many wonderful actors. Besides learning so much, from all the different people I got to work with, it was just a really fun experience. The sets are huge and epic, the visual effects are incredible and when you make a movie like this, the movie is so fun and we had so much fun making it just because we had so much wonderful stuff to work with.
Q: There are absolutely die hard fans of this. Did you feel any pressure about living up to their ideas of your character?
Alexandra: Not really. I hope — I take that back. I do in that I hope that I do the character justice. I love the character — I love Annabeth. I had a lot of fun playing her and I think that people will be happy when they see the movie even though it is different in some ways than the book. I think that Chris has made a really really great film even with the changes and I hope that I’ve done the character justice and I hope that people love her as much as I do.
Q: How would you describe Annabeth?
Alexandra: She is a great combination of strength and weakness I think which is interesting because what you see her as at first is just very tough and very strong, and you start to see that she has this sweetness and this weakness underneath that. Which I think everybody does. So even though she’s half god, she’s also very human and that makes her a lot of fun to play because you get to be really [tough] and do awesome sword fighting and jumping out of trees and archery, and then you also get to play the soft sweet side of her that misses her mother and is struggling to be happy just like everyone else.
Q: If you woke up one morning and you were a demigod, what would you do?
Alexandra: I don’t know. I guess I got to experience everything that a demigod would get to experience just by doing this movie — sword fighting and wearing armor and running through the woods and stuff like that. I can’t imagine. I mean I’d love to go to Olympus, to really see real Olympus. And meet the gods in person.
Q: Did you do a lot of your own stunts?
Alexandra: Yeah. When I first got there I sort of — I’m not that awesome in real life so you’re a little intimidated at first. “Can I pull all this off?” But once you get into it and the people that I got to work with, the stunt people were really incredible, you get exactly the right tips and tricks and I think I pulled it off. It becomes a lot of fun after a while.
Q: What was the most difficult scene to film?
Alexandra: A lot of times when you have an ensemble cast like this, there are scenes where the movie is so huge and there is so much other stuff going on as far as visual effects and sets and shot set-ups and things like that so sometimes there’s not much to do. Even if you’re in a scene you might not have lines or you might just be in the background. That’s actually the most difficult to do, just spend a day where you’re standing there or doing one thing and not really getting to do much.
Q: Was there a favorite scene or a favorite costume?
Alexandra: I loved doing the stunt stuff. We went up to Lake Alouette in Vancouver and we filmed right on the lake and it was just beautiful. It was a beautiful summer day and I had this scene where I basically fight off five guys and we’re all dressed in armor — of course in real life I never would have been able to win that particular fight but we choreographed it wonderfully and it was a lot of fun. You get to just dress up in this great armor and kick butt all day. So it was a lot of fun.
Q: How heavy was this armor?
Alexandra: Not that heavy. It didn’t have a lot of metal on it or anything. It was a little bit tight at times but it looked awesome.
Q: When you think of Brandon and Logan [the actors who play Grover and Percy], what is the first thing that comes to your mind?
Alexandra: They’re funny. I actually am a very lucky girl. Working with Logan and Brandon was a lot of fun. They are great actors, very focused, very talented and they’re very lighthearted so they find humor in a lot of things. So it’s a very awesome experience to work with them.
Q: Is there an obstacle in your life that you have had to work to overcome?
Alexandra: Well there’s so many actually. I mean there’s just so many things. No matter how difficult something may seem at the time, if you stay positive and look forward and work hard, you will achieve whatever your dreams are I think. I worked very hard to be an actress and sometimes it was very hard and you get rejected a lot and you go for long periods of time without working and then all of a sudden something comes along that can really change your life that is exactly what you always wanted. It doesn’t mean that everything becomes perfect, but as long as you work hard and don’t get discouraged if there’s something you want or believe in. My nerves, I mean a million times I was so nervous I literally used to get panic attacks. Especially on screen tests. My first screen test I was seventeen and I flew out to L.A. and I went into the room to read for a TV pilot and it was like an audience of network executives and I had a panic attack and couldn’t breathe and I didn’t get the part, needless to say and I was very upset and very discouraged. Sometimes things happen that can teach you. You make a mistake and you learn from it and then you don’t make it the next time. And then my next screen test was a lot better, because you learn to think differently so that you don’t have a panic attack in the audition room.
Doesn’t she sound so nice? Completely humble and sweet. And I like that she totally respects how awesome Annabeth is. Age difference aside, I think she will make a great Annabeth. What do you think? Let me know in the Comments.
And be sure to come back next week ’cause we got interviews with Grover and Percy too!
Interview by Marie Morreale
Photos courtesy of 20th Century Fox
The Lightning Thief movie is coming out February 12, 2010. Of course we are all super-excited, but the big question for fans of the book is: Will it be a lot different than the book?
Here are 3 different answers from 3 key people who are very close to the book and the movie. . .
Brandon T. Jackson, the actor who plays Grover, has this to say:
“Of course you can go into more detail, but it’s already two and a half hours. And it’s not long in a bad way but there’s only so much you can put in it. I think that they got all the major points of the story. That’s what makes it really cool. Chris [Columbus] is such a great director because he had to do it in a way where it really is entertaining and is also — you can’t take everything from the book. You’ll get some flak from a lot of the kids who will say, “I didn’t expect Grover to look like this.” “I didn’t expect Alexander to look like this.” But when you take it for the entertainment value I think the movie comes out to be really really cool from what I saw. It sticks pretty close to the book with the characters and everything the way they are. It balances out well for entertainment value for people who haven’t read the book, and for people who have read the book you can go back and draw your own conclusions and have your own magical experiences.”
Logan Lerman, the actor who plays Percy, also weighs in:
“With portraying Percy I tried to keep it — I didn’t want to change that that much. Except for the fact that I’m a little bit older than the written character. But the truth is we changed a lot of the book. We changed a lot of things around to make the movie work because you have to make things a little bit different so it can be its own film and work on screen. We changed a lot of the things though. But I’m pretty sure that fans of the book will be able to appreciate Rick’s writing, and will still accept this as a different medium from the book that adds a whole different take on the book from another person’s eyes, from Chris Columbus’ vision and even makes it more grand, even more unique. It’s really cool.”
And finally, Rick Riordan, the author himself offers his opinion of the movie on his blog:
“Will the movie be exactly like the book? Well to start with, I have never seen a movie that was exactly like the book it came from, so I think it’s safe to say no. Movies are a totally different medium. What you’ll be seeing is not The Lightning Thief book copied page for page onto the screen. What you’ll be seeing is Chris Columbus’ interpretation of The Lightning Thief story. . . Let the movie be the movie, and the books be the books, and try to enjoy the story without getting too worked up about any differences.”
So there you have it. What do you think? Will the movie be as good as the book? Let me know what you think in the Comments.
— Sonja, STACKS Staffer
Brandon T. Jackson and Logan Lerman interviews by Marie Morreale
UPDATE January 29, 2010: Check it out! We’ve got more Lightning Thief cast interviews!
Circle this date on your calendar: May 4, 2010 is the release date for The Kane Chronicles, Book One: The Red Pyramid.
It will be another fantasy series in a modern-day setting like Percy Jackson, but this series will feature ancient Egyptian mythology instead of ancient Greek. I CAN'T WAIT!!!
Here is a tiny plot tease:
When a magical accident unleashes the Egyptian gods on the modern
world, siblings Carter and Sadie Kane discover that they are the only ones who can put things right. As descendants of the greatest Egyptian magicians, they must find a way to defeat the evil god Set before he can destroy them.
It almost hurts to have to wait until May! OK, in the meantime, here are some other books about Ancient Egypt to keep you busy while you wait.
The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
Modern-day kids start playing a pretend "Egypt game" that leads to unexplainable events.
Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos by R.L. LaFevers
Theodosia has to work to remove the hidden curses from the ancient Egyptian artifacts in the British Museum where her parents work.
Egyptology by Dugald Steer and Ian Andrew
A fascinating scrapbook of ancient Egypt, full of hidden discoveries and magical secrets.
— Sonja, STACKS Staffer
UPDATE 4/20: We now have news about Riordan's NEW Camp Half-Blood series too!
Rick Riordan photo © Rebecca Riordan
Seriously, the kids at the Scholastic Kids Press Corps are, like, the luckiest people ever! First Danielle A. met Daniel Radcliffe and other stars on the red carpet event for the Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince movie premiere.
Now I hear that Grace C. spent a day visiting the set of the Percy Jackson movie! The movie is being filmed in Vancouver, Canada, and will be in theaters February 12, 2010.
How amazingly cool! The movie, based on the book The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan,
is about a boy named Percy who discovers that he is a demi-god — his mother is human, but his father whom he never met, is the god Poseidon. Pretty intense, and then he discovers that his best friend, Grover, is also a mythical creature, a satyr —half human, half goat! (That’s him in the pic.) Things just keep getting stranger, and Percy and his friends end up on a wild cross-country adventure involving gods, goddesses and mythical monsters.
It’s a really great book, so if you haven’t read it yet, you definitely should! There are five books in the Percy Jackson series so there is plenty of reading to keep you busy until next February whenthe movie comes out!
— Sonja, STACKS Staffer
PHOTO: Grace and and Brandon T. Jackson, who plays Grover, on the set of The Lightning Thief in Vancouver, Canada, summer 2009. Photo Courtesy Grace Choi.
UPDATE January 29, 2010: Check it out! We’ve got Lightning Thief cast interviews!
Hey, all — congratulations to everyone who wrote in and answered all my Percy Jackson trivia questions, even the really self-aggrandizing one about my favorite band ever! Here are the answers, along with the original questions:
1. On his travels in Sea of Monsters, Mr. Jackson meets Circe. What does she turn him into?
“A guinea pig” – A Major Bibliophile
BONUS: What similar animal does Circe turn Odysseus into? “odysseus wasn’t changed into an animal, his crew mates were changed into swine” – rachel (Good catch, rachel, I’m wrong and you’re absolutely right! Fifty gold stars!)
2. Annabeth teaches Percy about “hubris” — a key element of the Icarus myth. How did Icarus die?
“flying too close to the sun” – rachel
3. Which famous pirate do Percy and Annabeth meet?
“Blackbeard” - dramateller
4. Who was the original hero associated with the quest for the Golden Fleece?
“Jason” - A Major Bibliophile
(ULTRA OBSCURE) What old man was changed into a rock by Hermes for betraying him?
“The old man of Onchestus.” – songheart
Congratulations again, everybody! Now celebrate by buying yourself some Iron Maiden albums and air guitaring until your fingers fall off!
Less talk, more rock, Splotters!
— Jack, STACKS Staffer