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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 think."

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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