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TUCK EVERLASTING

About The Production
"When we first find out that we have to die someday, I think most of us wonder what it would be like if we didn't," says Natalie Babbitt, the author of the classic book for children, Tuck Everlasting. "I think that happens when we're very young. I remember being that age very clearly — this was something I wondered about, and I thought I would explore the idea from that vantage point."

"Everybody asks ‘What if?"' says Jane Startz, producer of Walt Disney Pictures' new film based on the award-winning classic. "‘What if you could live forever? What if you had to choose between the love of your life and living out your natural life, going through the cycles of time, having your own children, seeing them grow and change?' These are the cosmic questions. And Natalie Babbitt framed all these in a Romeo-and-Juliet story with philosophical underpinning that could appeal to parents and children, teenagers and grandparents... I first found out about Tuck Everlasting through my kids, who all loved it — and they never agree on anything.

"Here it was — this simple, sparingly written, wonderful book, was in the pantheon of children's literature," she notes. In fact, written in 1975 and published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Tuck Everlasting has been a bestseller, on the American Library Association's Notable Book list for 25 years, named one of the most important children's books of the 20th century by School Library Journal, and required reading for many elementary schoolchildren.

Startz, who at the time was the creative head of Scholastic Productions, the film and television arm that she co-founded for the publishing company, Scholastic, Inc, brought the book to the attention of Beacon Communications executives. Startz had previously partnered wit! Beacon's Marc Abraham on the film "The Baby-Sitters Club." She discovered that within Beacon there was already a powerful desire to make the film.

"‘Tuck Everlasting' is the culmination of a long and arduous process,"' notes Abraham. "One of my associates at Beacon, Max Wong, first brought me the project — I'd never even heard of the book at the time, but I read it and thought it was touching and powerful, in that it addresses a rare and unusual subject for children's literature — death. And I agreed with Max and Jane that it could show children a way of looking at this mysterious and frightening idea.

"Tuck Everlasting is actually my favorite book from childhood," says Wong. "I read it in 1977, when I was seven years old — and at the time, it wasn't part of any curriculum, as it is today, but instead, a kind of ‘underground' book that one good reader would pass on to the next. When I grew up, on my second day as a Hollywood intern, I took the book to my new boss — and it turned out to be impossible to get the movie made at the time. Fortunately, later, I was lucky enough to meet Jane Startz, who's been passionate about this project maybe even longer than I have. So I've been officially working on this project for five years, and unofficially for twelve.

While trying to find an "absolute, right director" to make the proper auspices complete, Startz went to see Jay Russell's film, "My Dog Skip" and "wept through the whole movie. I thought he had really captured a time and a place, a sense of atmosphere and a sense of loss and what it meant to be a child and grow."

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