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THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX

Production Notes
"The movie version of ‘The Tale of Despereaux' is a feast for the eye and the heart and the mind. It is smart and beautiful, richly imagined and deeply felt, and glows with its own unique and wonderful light. The movie serves as a testament to the power of hope and forgiveness and also works to remind us of the profound power of story, its ability to transform our hearts and change our world.” —Kate DiCamillo

Once in every generation, a book comes along that millions of children grow to know and love. In 2003, KATE DICAMILLO ("Because of Winn-Dixie”) penned "The Tale of Despereaux,” a fable about a tiny, brave mouse graced with oversized ears who follows his senses into territories uncharted by his kind. Born with an enthusiasm too big for his little mouse world, Despereaux Tilling befriends a banished rat, falls in love with a lonely princess and rescues the Kingdom of Dor from the tyranny of darkness and grief.

Upon publication, DiCamillo's tale of redemption became an instant classic. It jumped to the top of The New York Times best-seller list, where it stayed for 96 weeks…selling nearly two million copies (with an estimated readership of 10 million). Among its many honors were the coveted Newbery Medal and award for "Best Book of the Year” in its category by Publishers Weekly. Currently, the paperback is back at the top of the best-seller list, where it has remained for 42 weeks and counting.

Shortly after its publication, DiCamillo's book drew the attention of four-time Oscar®-nominated filmmaker GARY ROSS. The two had one great thing in common: They both had a knack for telling stories about the most unlikely of heroes.

For years, producer/writer Ross' specialty has been discovering the relatable values and humanity of underdogs: a crippled horse who achieves greatness in Seabiscuit, a guy who becomes his better self by finding the boy inside in Big and an everyman who redeems the decency of the Oval Office in Dave. When his wife, fellow producer ALLISON THOMAS (Seabiscuit), brought the book to his attention, Ross felt the modern fairy tale would make a wonderful CG-animated movie.

He responded to the novel's humanity and believed that it treated children with dignity and gave them credit for their intelligence and depth. Ross also loved that there are no purely evil figures in DiCamillo's story. Indeed, several of the characters only become hurtful after being hurt themselves, and each is redeemed through forgiveness. When they acquired the book, Ross and Thomas committed themselves to preserving the tone and richness of DiCamillo's fairy tale, ensuring that the qualities that had made "The Tale of Despereaux” an instant classic would translate to the big screen.

Four years later, Despereaux has arrived. SAM FELL (Flushed Away) and firsttime director ROB STEVENHAGEN—working from a screenplay by Ross and a screen story by WILL MCROBB & CHRIS VISCARDI (Alvin and the Chipmunks)—tell the journey of four outcasts: Despereaux (MATTHEW BRODERICK, The Lion King), a mouse who loves music, stories and a princess; Roscuro (DUSTIN HOFFMAN, Meet the Fockers), a rat living in darkness who covets the light; Pea (EMMA WATSON, Harry Potter series), a princess who longs for an ordinary life; and Miggery Sow (TRACEY ULLMAN, State of the Union), a slow-witted serving girl whose impossible dream is to become a princess.

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