The clocking is ticking…. I’m excited, nervous, happy, nervous….I feel like one of my kids has the lead role in a school play.
Some people still haven’t heard the news so here goes: the film version of SPEAK will be shown on both the Lifetime and Showtime channels tomorrow night, Monday, Sept. 5, at 9 pm. Lifetime will be breaking for commercials. Showtime will not.
Where do I begin? I have so much to tell you about this!
First – I love the movie. A lot. The director, Jessica Sharzer, did a fantastic job. She had a budget of one million dollars (Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants had a budget of 25 million), one camera, and three weeks to make the movie. We filmed it in Columbus, OH, during a killer heat wave. The air conditioning in the building had to be turned off because the noise messed up the sound recording. A record-breaking thunderstorm opened up holes in the school’s roof – over the room that held all the electrical boxes – and we lost power for a day. I have no idea how Jessica pulled it off, but she did.
The movie is very faithful to the book, but obviously, some things had to be cut. If they had filmed the whole darned book, it would have been a twelve hour movie. Even my rear end would have protested that. I was offered a chance to work on the screenplay, which I turned down because of other writing obligations. The screenplay was co-written by Jessica and Annie Young, the woman who spent several years fighting and struggling to get the book made into a movie. When Annie first approached me about turning the book into the movie, I had my doubts. But she made it happen, a minor miracle as far as I am concerned.
I was on the set for a couple days, with my oldest daughter, Stephanie. It was a very moving, fun experience for both of us. The cast and crew were sweet, though I found that whenever Mr. Neck walked in the room, my stomach started to hurt. Even though he was sweet off camera, his on-camera role was intense – he nailed it.
Everybody nailed it. Melinda, David, Mr. Freeman – they all rock this movie hard. One unknown actress gave a stunning, if brief, performance in her role as The Lunchlady Who Puts Mashed Potatoes on the Plate. Yes, folks, that was me. Watch quickly. I’m on camera for almost a full second. Kristen Stewart, the actress who plays Melinda, had the most difficult job – showing a character’s emotions without speaking much. It is fun to read her opinion of the process in this interview.
I don’t want to go into details about my favorite parts of the movie before you guys have seen it. I’ll try to remember to talk about that on Tuesday.
Several reviewers have already commented on the film. Jonathan Storm is a national TV critic based in Philly, yo, and he sure liked it. Other reviews and interviews are here, here, here, and here (I’m interviewed a little in this one). Showtime has several pages of background material and photos. Oh, and Entertainment Weekly picked the movie as a Must Watch for this week – they gave it a B+
I’ve had notes from readers and teachers who are holding SPEAK movie parties – I know a couple of my kids at college are doing the same. Please send photos of your party I can post here!! Are any of you LJ readers having a party?
What else do you guys want to know?
added later… I’ll give you my menu suggestions for a SPEAK party tomorrow.