RIDING IN CARS WITH BOYS
About The Production
RIDING IN CARS WITH BOYS is a triumphant tale that illustrates how
unexpected events may sidetrack dreams, but never derail them. "Beverly is
a character who has survived because of her determination," declares Sara
Colleton, one of the producers of RIDING IN CARS WITH BOYS.
The film is based on Beverly Donofrio's bittersweet yet hilarious memoir of the
same name, which Colleton read when it was published in 1990. Said The Chicago
Tribune of Donofrio upon the publication of her first book: "This is a
writer you pray will eat right, get enough sleep and stay around a long time to
fill up the shelf with other books as good as this one. RIDING IN CARS WITH
BOYS will be a classic. Unless you hate to laugh, read it now." The
Washington Post heralded her as a "promising voice."
The candidly etched portrait of Bev's turbulent life, the curveballs life tosses
her, and her unwillingness to be thrown out of the game were the qualities that
appealed to Colleton. The complexity of Bev's character-her vitality, her
resilience, her refusal to be defeated, and above all, her humor-made Colleton
want to bring her alive on screen.
"In high school a girl was either smart, or pretty, or bad," observes
Colleton. "The combination of all three was unheard of."
It was Beverly's unique voice that moved Colleton. "Hers was a story I
hadn't seen before-a young girl's coming-of-age-although there had been
countless inspiring boy's and men's stories."
"Judging from her book, Beverly's life is joy one minute and sadness the
next," adds producer Laurence Mark. "You're laughing and then you're
crying, and then you're laughing about what you're crying about. This is the
tone of the movie, too-walking a very fine line between comedy and drama."
"Things are sweet and funny in this movie that have no right to be sweet
and funny," says producer James L. Brooks, "but it happens."
Colleton immediately brought the book to Brooks "because Jim loves women,
and he seemed a natural for this. It's the wisest thing I've ever done."
According to Donofrio, "What Jim does is make exterior what people
Brooks, who became very good friends with Beverly through meetings and e-mails
before and during production, returns the praise: "Bev continues to live an
absolutely original life. She's a very complicated woman; everything about her
is engaging," he says. "Part of what's lovable about her is the way
she describes her own selfishness and self-centeredness.
"She was a kid raising a kid. Here's a girl who hadn't finished high school
yet and had dreams of being a student all her life," he continues.
"And out of nowhere she's a mother. It's impossible."
It was Brooks who brought in screenwriter and executive producer Morgan Upton
Ward. "Jim and I were looking for something to do together," says
Ward, "so when he asked me if I would be interested in reading this book, I
immediately said yes. Beverly's voice was so honest and blunt and funny, and
when you get to know Beverly, that's just the way she is. All the characters in
the book were so rich."
Ward and Brooks decided that they wanted to explore multiple aspects of all the
characters in the book. "Before I even started writing, I went and met
Beverly's son, the real Jason, and got his point of view because the book is
from Beverly's point of view, which is very different. That's the angle of the
screenplay that is the present-day story." Director Penny Marshall also met
with the real-life Beverly and Jason.
Ward spent a lot of time with Beverly, prodding her with questions. According to
Beverly, "Morgan's the backbone. Without Morgan, t
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