Disney has kicked off production on “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day,” the first live-action film adaptation of Judith Viorst’s 1972 illustrated children’s classic. The film, directed by Independent Spirit Award-winner Miguel Arteta (“The Good Girl,” “Cedar Rapids,” “Youth in Revolt”) from a screenplay by Rob Lieber, is a 21 Laps Entertainment/Jim Henson Company production. Shooting in the Los Angeles area, with locations in the cities of Pasadena and Arcadia, the San Fernando Valley and Melody Ranch in Newhall, the film hits cinemas nationally in November, 2014.
Steve Carell (“The Way, Way Back,” “Little Miss Sunshine,” the forthcoming “Foxcatcher”) and Jennifer Garner (“Dallas Buyers Club, “The Odd Life of Timothy Green,” “Juno”) star as Alexander’s upbeat parents. The veteran performers are joined in the film by a trio of young talents that includes 16-year-old Dylan Minnette (“Lost,” the upcoming “Prisoners”) as Alexander’s older brother, Anthony; 15-year-old Kerris Dorsey (TV’s “Ray Donovan,” “Moneyball”) as sister Emily; and 12-year-old Australian native Ed Oxenbould (“Puberty Blues”), who makes his big-screen feature debut as the film’s title character, Alexander.
Emmy® winner (and Golden Globe® nominee) Megan Mullally (“Will & Grace”) also joins the cast, along with Jennifer Coolidge (“American Pie,” “Legally Blonde,” TV’s “2 Broke Girls”) and Bella Thorne (“Shake It Up!”).
The film is produced by Shawn Levy (“Night at the Museum,” “Date Night,” “Real Steel”), Emmy® nominee and CEO of the Jim Henson Company Lisa Henson, and 21 Laps Entertainment President Dan Levine (“The Internship,” “Along Came Polly,” “Freedom Writers”). It’s executive produced by industry veteran Philip Steuer (“Saving Mr. Banks,” “Oz The Great and Powerful,” “The Chronicles of Narnia” trilogy) and Jason Lust (“Whip It,” “The Waiting Game”).
Disney’s “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” follows the exploits of 11-year-old Alexander as he experiences the most terrible and horrible day of his young life—a day that begins with gum stuck in his hair, followed by one calamity after another. But when Alexander tells his upbeat family about the misadventures of his disastrous day, he finds little sympathy and begins to wonder if bad things only happen to him. He soon learns that he’s not alone when his brother, sister, mom and dad all find themselves living through their own terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Anyone who says there is no such thing as a bad day just hasn’t had one.
Director Arteta’s key filmmaking team includes cinematographer Terry Stacey (“50/50,” “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen”), two-time Oscar®-nominated production designer Michael Corenblith (“The Blind Side,” “Saving Mr. Banks,” HBO’s “Game Change”), and two artists with whom he has previously collaborated: Oscar-nominated film editor Pam Martin (“The Fighter,” “Little Miss Sunshine,” “Youth in Revolt”) and veteran costume designer Nancy Steiner (“Little Miss Sunshine,” “Lost in Translation,” “The Good Girl,” “Youth in Revolt”).
“Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day,” published in 1972, was written by Judith Viorst and illustrated by Ray Cruz. The endearing, enduring classic (with more than 2 million copies in print) became an ALA Notable Children’s Book while also winning a George G. Stone Center Recognition of Merit, a Georgia Children’s Book Award, and distinction as a Reading Rainbow book. Viorst followed this book (inspired by her own three sons’ childhoods—Alexander, Anthony and Nicholas) with two sequels: “Alexander, Who Used to be Rich Last Sunday” (1978) and “Alexander, Who’s Not (Do You Hear Me? I Mean It!) Going to Move” (1995). The 1972 original was first adapted to the small screen as a half-hour HBO animated musical in 1990 before Viorst collaborated with composers Charles Strouse (music) and Shelley Markham (musical score) for a 1998 stage musical at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.