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CATCH THAT KID

Introduction

During Christmas of 2001, Mikkel Bondesen, the Danish-born, Los Angeles-based executive producer of CATCH THAT KID, was on vacation with his wife in his native Copenhagen when he saw a poster for a Danish film, "Klatretøsen,” a heist adventure featuring three pre-teens. "I was so intrigued by the images on the poster that I called the film's producer to get an early screening,” Bondesen recalls. After a showing, Bondesen wasted no time securing the American remake rights.

Indeed, Bondesen's belief in the film's commercial and critical appeal was validated upon its release in Denmark in early 2002, when "Klatretøsen” became one of the country's most successful and beloved films. It won the prestigious Glass Bear Special Mention Award at the 2002 Berlin International Film Festival.

Bondesen brought the film to Damien Saccani, an executive with producer Andrew Lazar's Mad Chance Productions, who shared Bondesen's enthusiasm for the project. "‘Klatretøsen' is an incredibly entertaining sweet family movie with a lot of action and a little bit of an edge,” says Saccani. "It also had a little bit of bite and a lot of heart.”

Andrew Lazar realized that the elements that made the film such a hit in Denmark – action, adventure, heart and edge – would translate well to an American production of the story. After Twentieth Century Fox obtained the rights to produce the movie that would become CATCH THAT KID, screenwriting partners Michael Brandt & Derek Haas, who had just penned "2 Fast 2 Furious,” were brought in to complete a shooting script. Bart Freundlich, who directed the acclaimed independent dramas "The Myth of Fingerprints” and "World Traveler,” then came aboard to direct.

Faithful to the basic storyline of the original film, CATCH THAT KID focuses on 12-year-old Maddy (Kristen Stewart), whose father (Sam Robards), an ex-mountain climber and now the owner of a go-cart track, becomes incapacitated with a spine injury and needs costly surgery. To secure money for an operation for her critically ill father, Maddy lures her two male friends – computer whiz Austin (Corbin Bleu) and mechanically-minded Gus (Max Thieriot) – to rob an impregnable safe designed by her mother (Jennifer Beals). With Maddy as mastermind, the three young friends use their formidable skills to fulfill their impossible mission.

Bart Freundlich was attracted to the emotional center of the story. "At its heart CATCH THAT KID is about what kids will do for their parents – that they'll do anything to be close to them and save them,” he says. "It's a kind of morality tale, because they do this thing that's clearly illegal, but they do it for all the right reasons. They take exactly what they need and no more. We were very careful about telling that part of the story.”

"Maddy is kind of like a Robin Hood, stealing from a rich bank for the benefit of her dad,” says producer Andrew Lazar. "The way that kids' minds work, they don't think of the ramifications,” adds co-screenwriter Michael Brandt. "They just think that if they get the money and get Maddy's father the operation, everything's going to be fine. They don't care about the money itself; they only want to save Maddy's father.”

"And along the way, they have to face attack dogs, a security guard who's half out of his mind, a wall they have to climb to get up to the safe, and everything that could possibly go wrong,” adds co-screenwriter Derek Haas. "And to throw one final wrench into it, they have to take their two year old brother along for the ride.”
Oddly enough, Freundlich's "indie sensibility” was an asset to CATCH THAT KID, a big studio film with plenty of action and scale. "Having done two dramatic films, Bart was able to bring more out of the characters and their relationships,” says Saccani.

In classic heist adventures, it takes highly-trained specialists to pul

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