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IMAGINE THAT

Imagining "Imagine That"
"Soppida's Dragon! Please let me pass!” – Evan

Evan Danielson's (Eddie Murphy) life, like that of so many parents today, can sometimes be all work and no play. He listens to his daughter without hearing her, is absent even when he's present. Without meaning to, he is neglecting his parental responsibilities as he chases career advancement. Never in his wildest dreams would it dawn on him that the secret to his success might spring from the imagination of his young daughter, Olivia (Yara Shahidi). This is the world conjured up in the inventive new family comedy from Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies, "Imagine That.” Ed Solomon, a busy writer and producer, was taking his six-year-old son Evan to school. In true out-of-the-mouth-of-babes fashion, Evan said something it took weeks for Solomon to truly hear, but when he finally did, it proved to be the inspiration for "Imagine That.”

"While driving with my son,” recalls Solomon, "I had to do something I usually don't do — make a phone call while he was in the car with me. Afterwards, I apologized and explained that I was in the middle of a business crisis that required immediate attention. The person on the other end was not being pleasant, and asking for things that were unfair. Evan simply said, ‘Why don't you just kick him out?' I went on to explain in detail how that wasn't an option and why. I thought it was cute that he had such a straightforward, but clearly uninformed, answer. Three weeks later, with still no resolution to this problem, we actually had to fire the person. A few days later, he returned and apologized for being unfair and we proceeded to finish our work together. It turned out my son was exactly right. That's when I had the idea: What if a guy had a son who had better business sense than he did?”

As Solomon developed the idea, he adjusted it to create a fresh and different look at a particular family dynamic. "The father-son relationship immediately bored me because, first of all, it seemed really pedestrian and, secondly, there are so many movies about fathers and sons. But then I thought about my daughter, who is a formidable presence and whose powerful feminine spirit is sometimes a bit intimidating for me. I remembered her vibrant imaginary world and realized that a father-daughter story would show the story from a unique perspective and that if the source of her business insight was the characters from within her imaginary world, the entire film would be much more magical and, hopefully, more special.” Enter the "Goo-Gaa.”

"My daughter has a purple blanket,” continues Solomon. The security comforter was the inspiration for the Goo-Gaa that belongs to the main character's daughter Olivia and is the wellspring for her imaginary world. "I thought the comedic hook could be that only Olivia has access to these imaginary characters and only through this blanket,” Solomon adds. "Now I had a story about a guy who resents the heck out of the fact that his daughter carries around a security blanket everywhere she goes and he does everything he can to separate her from it. When he finds out that it may actually have magic powers that will help him succeed in his career, his attitude suddenly changes.”

Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Solomon have been friends for years. When the idea for the story came up during a vacation, there was an immediate connection. Both men have young children and had been looking to work together on a project for a long time. "Imagine That” seemed to be the right project at the right time. "Ed and I were on a family whitewater rafting trip together,” recalls di Bonaventura, "and he told me about the fantasy world his daughter had created. As we spoke, Ed began to shape the story.”

Several months later, Solomon turned to another friend and fellow writer,<

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