Variety reports that AnnaSophia Robb — the young co-star of Because of Winn-Dixie (my junket report; my review) and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory — will star in an adaptation of Katherine Paterson’s Bridge to Terabithia. Robb will play Leslie Burke, the progressive thinker and athletic girl next door who introduces a boy named Jess Aarons to an imaginary world.
I was a huge, huge fan of this book in Grade 6. I bought a copy for myself after Miss Joosse read it to our class, and during the more boring stretches of my paper route, I often tried to visualize how I would film this book; the only thing I might have visualized more would have been the death of Gollum in The Lord of the Rings.
An adaptation of the book was filmed for TV in 1985 — directed by Eric Till, a Canadian who would go on to direct more recent films like Luther (2003; my review; my essay) and Red Green’s Duct Tape Forever (2002) — but as I recall, I was underwhelmed by it.
I hope the new film will do the book justice, though there isn’t much info to go on right now. Director Gabor Csupo has basically no experience behind the camera of a live-action movie; all of his work to date has been as a producer and animator on shows like Rugrats and The Simpsons. The film is also being produced by Walden Media, whose track record to date has been pretty mixed.
Incidentally, I’ve noticed that there is a land called Terabinthia — note the extra letter — in the Narnia books. Coincidence?