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HOOT

About The Production
Author Carl Hiaasen's 2002 book Hoot was his first for young readers after delighting grown-up audiences over the last two decades with such satiric, salty, adult-flavored bestsellers as Strip Tease, Stormy Weather, Skinny Dip and seven others novels dating back to his 1986 debut, Tourist Season. The recipient of a prestigious 2003 Newbery Honor, Hoot has more than one million copies in print and spent well over a year on the New York Times Children's Bestseller list.

Hiaasen, the long-admired Miami Herald columnist, says he wrote Hoot "because it was something I'd never done before. I really wanted to write something that I could give to my nephew, nieces, stepson and young son without worrying about the salty language or adult situations. They all wanted to read the grownup novels, but I didn't think they were ready yet because of those adult situations.” 

Never dreaming he would write for such a young audience, Hiaasen adds, "I talked with my agent about such an idea. I never dreamed that anyone would publish a book that I would write for a younger crowd. But, I thought, ‘wouldn't it be nice to have a book that (might) have the same attitude, the same spin, the same view and the same affection of Florida that my other books had but would actually be for kids? To tell a story that kids could dig.'”  While environmental themes of his beloved homestate prevail in every book he pens ("the trigger or the fuse, if you will, to everything I've written about and tried to do in journalism,” says Hiaasen), the issue of the owls for Hiaasen "was a real story, a page from my own childhood. Where I grew up in West Broward, we had nests of burrowing owls right in our own neighborhood.” 

"After the novel was finished, my mom found an old album, a photo album,” the author recalls. "I had taken this little Kodak Instamatic and gone out for a school project to photograph one of the last places where these burrowing owls nested near where I grew up. In the album, you see these tiny, little dots, these little owls standing at their burrows. I could drive you to that site now and it would be under about 25 tons of concrete. These developers came in and put up strip malls, just bulldozed all these little birds and their nests. Even at a very young age, I had a certain amount of anger, frustration and sadness in seeing this place that I loved so much disappear.”

"It was something I only intended to do one time,” admits Hiaasen, who has since written a  second novel for youngsters called Flush, published just as filming on Hoot wrapped. "After Hoot came out, it achieved a totally unforeseen popularity. It was a real eye-opener. I've gotten hundreds and hundreds of letters from children who read this book. They tune right away into the message and the characters, get right to the heart of what the book is about. They understood where I was coming from. There must be hope for the world because they got it.”

Hollywood didn't, according to the author, who has had only one other novel adapted onto the big screen (director Andrew Bergman's 1996 film Striptease, based on Hiaasen's 1994 bestseller, which starred Demi Moore and Burt Reynolds) and says about Hoot, "they shopped it around Hollywood and nobody seemed to be that interested.”

Surprisingly, most of Hiaasen's other books have been optioned (but remain unproduced) for the motion picture screen, including his most recent tome, Skinny Dip, and the 1986 title, Tourist Season, "which is the first novel I did, this very seditious and naughty little novel. The first time Jimmy Buffett ever called me was about optioning those movie rights. He loved the book, but the rights had already been taken. We still became friends and have stayed in touch all these years. He knew about Hoot and thought it would make a great movie.”

In addition to his legacy as one of the country's most popula

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