Judy Blume and her son have spent the last few years collaborating on a project, and are now about to fulfill the dreams of all of her fans: her 1981 book Tiger Eyes is now being released as a feature film, which will be officially showing in certain theaters this Friday, June 7. It will also be available on video on demand and on iTunes.
Judy Blume has been a huge name in young adult literature since her first book was published in 1969. She has sold more than 82 million copies of her books in 41 countries. Even now, I remember my mother buying me my first copy of Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. when I was nine years old. From Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing to Summer Sisters, Judy Blume writes books that young readers (especially young women) and adults like to read. They are true to real life, classic and timeless.
Blume, 75, has wanted one of her books to be adapted to film for decades. She approached her film director son, Larry, about it a few years ago, “I am not getting any younger,” she said. “I do not want to die and have someone else make movies of my books and ruin them. I’d like to make one myself.”
So began the journey to get Tiger Eyes from print to the big screen. Tiger Eyes is the story of Davey, a young girl who is forced to move to New Mexico with her mother and brother to live with relatives after her father’s death. She meets a Native American teenager named Wolf who helps her cope with her feelings about the uprooting.
The financial capabilities for a big-screen movie adaptation of Tiger Eyes became available in 2009. British supermarket giant Tesco decided to dabble in the movie-making business, and offered a deal for Judy Blume and her son to create Tiger Eyes for just over $2 million. Shooting began in 2010 and took just 23 days to complete.
Willa Holland was cast as Davey. Holland had supporting roles in both The O.C. and Gossip Girls, and Blume and her son both knew that she was perfect for the character.
“There was something in her face; you could see her pain,” Larry said. “She had a very complex set of emotions in such a young person, which were right on the surface to see. She was perfect.”
The character of Wolf is played by Tatanka Means, with his real-life father stepping in to play Wolf’s father. Russell Means passed away in 2012, and this was his last film.
The challenge after filming wrapped up was finding a way to get the movie to viewers. It turned out to be a nonissue; Blume’s huge fan base and big name helped get her into film festivals, and the film is now being played in about 40 theaters around the United States.