Judy Blume, iconic writer/patron saint to confused tweens that she is, needs no introduction. There's a pretty solid chance that you, dear reader, felt less alone in the world after reading her books, whether you were obsessed with getting your period, grappling with recently divorced parents or considering whether to name a penis "Ralph." (Don't do it. It won't be cute "forever.") So how come no one in Hollywood wanted to make her fucking movie?
On June 7, Tiger Eyes — based on Blume's 1981 book about a teenager coping with the murder of her father and so much more — will be released on demand and iTunes, and in a few theaters. Even this limited release was slow in the making because, according to an interview in Entertainment Weekly, the dudes who control Hollywood never quite caught Judy Blume fever like the rest of us:
“It’s a Judy Blume movie. That should be enough, you would think,” says Lawrence, 49. [Judy's son, who directed Tiger Eyes.] “What shocked me was that a big segment of the business knew who Judy Blume was but they didn’t understand who she was. Part of it is that the film business is run mostly by old white men—and some young ones, too—who didn’t grow up with her books.”
The piece chronicles some of Blume's other struggles to gain control over possible film and TV adaptations of her books, as well as how hard it is these days to write successful YA without invoking the magical (and lucrative) power of zombies or vampires:
After Tiger Eyes wrapped, the deal with Amber Entertainment eventually fell apart. “We fought for a year to get control of the film,” sighs Lawrence. “Once we did, we thought, ‘Surelysomeone will want this.’ ” But it wasn’t that simple. While Hollywood was deep in the throes of its love affair with YA—thanks to Harry Potter and Twilight—Tiger Eyes didn’t fit its template. It was a movie about real teenagers dealing with real problems: no magic, no thrilling danger, no fangs. It didn’t have a big producer backing it, nor was there an A-list star attached. Sure, there was a name on board—Judy Blume—but that wasn’t enough on its own. So Lawrence commissioned a three-minute sizzle reel showing the scope of his -mother’s influence on pop culture to bring with him to pitch meetings.
Also: Judy wanted Abigail Breslin to play Margaret for a movie that never came to fruition. If only!
Image via AP.