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About The Production
Director Mark Waters was drawn to the uniquely imaginative elements of Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black's The Spiderwick Chronicles, particularly since they are played out in the context of a time and place audiences could relate to – today's America. "I've always loved movies in the fantasy genre, and when I read these books I saw the opportunity to do something that hadn't been done before – a movie that dealt with adventure, fantasy and incredibly interesting creatures, but wasn't set in a far-off land with British wizards or Gothic orphans, or just some kind of strange, unrecognizable lead actors.”

Instead, Waters says, the film features kid-characters audiences can easily identify with. "They just seem to have been plunked down in an extremely extraordinary situation when the Grace family moves into this family estate they inherited and are slowly introduced to those creatures through a Field Guide. Here was an opportunity to make a movie that everyone could relate to immediately, and relate to just the fact that these kind of crazy, strange creatures could be around us at any time.”

One of the reasons the children in the story are identifiable, he says, is that they struggle with problems shared by many families today. "But the enchanted and often perilous journey they embark upon allows them to discover and draw on strengths they never knew they had – as individuals, and, more importantly, as a family.”

Jared Grace, played by Freddie Highmore, is at a crisis point in his life, and it is through this extraordinary adventure that he comes to terms with his feelings about his parents' separation, Waters explains. "Jared has been deeply affected by the divorce; he's very angry and rebellious and doesn't hide his bitterness, especially in his interaction with his mother and siblings. But in the end, this incredible journey, which ends up with him basically saving his family, results in him healing himself, too.”

Helen Grace, played by Mary-Louise Parker, has just broken up with her husband and moves into the old family estate, a dark, dilapidated Victorian house named for her great uncle, Arthur Spiderwick. Nobody is happy about it, but she does have an ally in her daughter, Mallory, played by Sarah Bolger. "Mallory is kind of like a mini-mom. She also has the clearest sense of why the divorce took place, but doesn't initially share this with her brothers – she is very protective of them, even though they drive her crazy, particularly Jared,” says Waters.

Simon Grace - who is also played by Freddie Highmore - is the nerdier of the two, but his quiet determination and attention to detail become great assets when the family is in danger. "More importantly, they overcome their differences and work together and, in the process, learn to love and appreciate each other,” Waters sums up. "The fantasy world ultimately allows them to more clearly see and understand their own reality.”

The adventure begins when Jared comes across Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You. What Arthur Spiderwick (David Strathairn), the man who built the estate, didn't realize when he wrote the manual was that the secrets he revealed about the hidden faerie world could act as a "how-to manual” and be dangerous if it fell into the wrong hands. So when Jared comes across this book that's been hidden in the house for some 60 or 70 years, he literally opens a Pandora's box.

At first, he's excited by the odd and altogether wondrous creatures Uncle Arthur wrote about. Then it dawns on him and his siblings that this secret world exists in their own house – which explains some of the odd things that have been happening around them. That scampering sound in the wall is actually an imp known as a brownie. And, according to the Field Guide, when brownies get angry, they become boggar

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