Navigation Bar - Text Links at Bottom of Page

RAMONA AND BEEZUS

Production Information
First published over 50 years ago, Beverly Cleary's books have entertained several generations of readers. The cast and filmmakers of the first major motion picture based on Cleary's series – RAMONA AND BEEZUS – typifies the books' cross-generational appeal. The film's Ramona, Joey King, began reading the book series before she was cast in the role. Selena Gomez, the on-screen Beezus, had read the books in elementary school. "I love how Beverly writes the characters,” says the popular singer-actress. "We wanted to do justice to Beverly and her work, and to make her proud. We all did our homework and worked really hard to be true to the characters. I think this movie is going to be a fun family experience.”

"I grew up on the Ramona books, as did my mother who passed them down to me,” says Ginnifer Goodwin, who plays Ramona and Beezus' Aunt Bea. "I think the way the books are passed down from parent to child is what's magical about the whole series. The thing that really struck me when I reread the books was how Beverly Cleary captured the childhood experience.” For the filmmakers, the process of turning the books into a major motion picture brought up strong feelings of nostalgia. "It's a unique privilege to be able to make a movie that's based on something so integral to one's childhood,” says producer Alison Greenspan, who worked tirelessly to secure the motion picture rights to the beloved books.

Another example of the filmmakers' connection to Ramona and her world (and there are many more): When director Elizabeth Allen was five and home sick with the chicken pox, her mother gave her the Ramona books. Allen admits, "I think I actually stayed home from school an extra day so I could finish up the series!”

Over the years, Cleary had been presented with many opportunities to option the book rights, but she remained reluctant … until a letter arrived from producer Denise Di Novi. Having successfully brought to the screen the well-received and family-friendly The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Eloise, Little Women and James and the Giant Peach, Di Novi's track record in bringing to life these classic books for young people, won Cleary's confidence that the author's books would be in the right hands.

Still, it took several trips to Cleary's home, numerous phone calls, and over two years to secure the film rights to the books. "We tried to convince Mrs. Cleary we would take great care and be respectful, and make the movie in a way that was true to the material,” says Greenspan. "Denise [Di Novi]'s credits and the movies we've made together helped convince her that we would be able to do it.”

"Working with Denise, Alison and [director] Liz Allen looked like a good fit for what [Mrs. Cleary] envisioned a movie about Ramona would be, and would stay true to her stories,” says Malcolm Cleary, the author's son, who visited the set several times during filming. Malcolm also makes an appearance in the film as a guest at a wedding.

As she reread the books, Greenspan remembered why she had loved them so dearly. "They're so true to the childhood experience, where everything seems so big and it's so easy to be misunderstood.” As Greenspan prepared for her initial meeting with Cleary, the filmmaker recalled the book reports she'd written on Ramona and her Father and Beezus and Ramona. "I called my mom in a panic and said, ‘Remember that box in the garage you've been after me to throw out?'” Greenspan's mother retrieved her daughter's ancient homework, and Greenspan actually brought the book reports to her meeting with the author. "I wanted Mrs. Cleary to see we were true fans of the books,” she says.

But the first encounter didn't go exactly the way the producer had planned: Cleary, a former librarian, noted Greenspan's grade of A-minus on the book reports -- for spelling errors! As work p

Next Production Note Section

TOP

Home | Theaters | Video | TV

Your Comments and Suggestions are Always Welcome.
Contact CinemaReview.com

2014 9,  All Rights Reserved.

Google

Find:  HELP!

Google