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THE MIGHTY

About The Production
When it comes to the perilous mythical and real-life adventures of a thirteen-year-old boy - slaying dragons, battling dark forces and rescuing damsels in distress - a best friend is the key to standing tall and mighty and on top of the world

When it comes to the perilous mythical and real-life adventures of a thirteen-year-old boy - slaying dragons, battling dark forces and rescuing damsels in distress - a best friend is the key to standing tall and mighty and on top of the world.

That's the spirited message at the heart of director Peter Chelsom's The Mighty, the funny, inspirational and adventure-filled tale of two young outcasts - one a giant in size 14 shoes, the other a tiny Einstein with leg braces - who unite to form an unbeatable combination in friendship. Along the way, The Mighty also offers a glimpse into the bonds of family, the meaning of nobility and the magic of imagination - an adventure seen through the eyes of two youngsters, and a story suited for audiences of all ages.

"What is really special about the story of The Mighty is how it shows that all kinds of people can find each other, care for one another and help each other out," says producer Jane Startz. "It is particularly poignant because it shows two boys who care for and take care of each other and make the vital difference in each other's lives. Kevin gives Max his voice. Max gives Kevin his ability to move. It's a story also about reading and using your imagination. If you learn to read and have a passion for something, it'll take you as far away as you want to go. Through Kevin's love of reading and learning, he takes Max on fantastic, far-reaching journeys that anyone can go on, no matter how poor they are, or whatever their physical disability."

It all began when Freak the Mighty, the first young adult novel by acclaimed mystery author Rodman Philbrick, debuted on bookshelves in 1993. While writing his story, Philbrick had been inspired by a friend's son who was born with Morquio's Syndrome, a progressively degenerative childhood disease. Recalls Philbrick, "This boy was very much like the Kevin Dillon character -- a bright, hyper young wiseguy with personality and a fascination with words. I didn't know much about writing for the young adult market at the time, but a compelling voice in my head told me to write the story."

That voice proved to be compelling, indeed. Philbrick's book, published by Scholastic's Blue Sky Press, proved to be an overnight sensation, winning the American Library Association's award for "Best Book for Young Adults," and fast becoming required reading in junior high schools nationwide.

For Philbrick, the overwhelming reaction to Freak the Mighty is easily explained. "I think that kids really respond to the story because, around the age of thirteen, friendship is of life and death importance. Having a best friend is an absolute necessity. The novel is really about the importance of friendship and how it can change a person's life."

However, to keep his young readers' interest, Philbrick also added elements of fun, adventure, comedy and tragedy. With those elements, Philbrick's story seemed an ideal fit for not only the bookshelves, but the big screen, a detail not lost on producer Startz, the co-founder and former creative head of Scholastic's Film and Television division. Even before the book was published, Startz recognized that potential, and championed the cause to create a film version of The Mighty.

"To me, The Mighty is ultimately about the resilience of the imagination, that singular part of a human be

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