Imagine if you had the power to make treasure fall from the sky, characters come out of books, and winged monkeys fly through the halls. What would you do? You would probably get grounded for the flying monkeys, but the other stuff sounds pretty cool, right?
These amazing things actually take place in the movie Inkheart. It is based on the first book in the best-selling Inkheart trilogy by Cornelia Funke and published by Scholastic Inc. The movie stars Brendan Fraser as Mo. Mo has the gift of bringing fictional characters into real life just by reading books aloud. But is it really a gift or is it a really big problem?
Recently, I had the great opportunity to hang out with the author, the actors, and the director to talk about the movie at the beautiful Casa Del Mar Hotel in Santa Monica, California. They were all thrilled that the film is coming out on January 23, and were eager to talk about it. They also shared with me some funny moments that happened on the set.
Whenever Paul Bettany’s character, Dustfinger, appears in the movie, his ferret is always with him, perched on his shoulder. All the actors described the ferret as either wild or smelly. Bettany said a docile male ferret was used in one of the scenes in which they just wanted the ferret to sit on his shoulder. They also had a female “stunt” ferret for the action scenes.
“If they want the ferret to run up my leg, they put this little bit of food on my ear,” Bettany said. When the female ferret would run up his leg to go for the food, it wouldn’t know when to stop.” Then they’d pull it away and they’d put the male ferret on,” he added. Bettany said he was terrified of the crazy female ferret because it would nibble on his ear with its “sharp, pointy teeth.”
Because the movie is about bringing characters to life, I had to ask: “If you had the power to bring a character from a book to life, which one would it be?”
Cornelia Funke, the author of the Inkheart trilogy, Dragon Rider, and many other books, knew exactly which character she would bring to life. ”Dragon in Dragon Rider,” she exclaimed. “And then I would ride it. Yes! That would be the first thing I would do.”
Eliza Bennett plays Meggie in Inkheart. She said that she would bring to life Toto from The Wizard of Oz. The Toto character actually shows up in Inkheart.
When I asked Brendan Fraser about what book he would like to jump into, he said that one minor change in history could ruin the entire universe and life as we know it. And if he jumped into a book, he might cause bad things to happen.
“I think maybe I’ll just step into a phone book,” he said as he laughed heartily, “which is an excellent sleeping aid, I might add.”
The Inkheart novel is extremely imaginative and vivid. When you read it, you could see it as a movie in your head. So it was interesting to see how a movie was created from someone else’s point of view and what that looked like.
Iain Softley directed Inkheart. He said he tried to transport moviegoers into a new world and show them a whole new experience while they were watching the movie. As a viewer he said, “I want somebody to take me somewhere I’m not.”
He used that idea to help him make the movie a great adventure for people who watch it on the big screen.
— Mariam El Hasan, Scholastic News Kid Reporter
Movie poster courtesy of New Line Cinema. Photo courtesy of Mariam El Hasan.