I was invited for an expenses paid trip to LA by Disney to cover the #VeryBadDayEvent and #DisneyInHomeEvent in exchange for my posts of the trip experiences. All opinions are my own.
It was so great to be able to sit down with Lisa Henson the Producer for Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. I always love getting an inside look out the production process of the film.
What first attracted you to the idea of creating this film?
Lisa: We actually optioned the book. At the Henson Company, we’re a great fans of that book and have been looking after the rights to see if they would become available. When we got the rights to the books and developed it along with 21 Laps, which is Shawn Levy’s company, family bean. Then we hired Rob Liber, who is the writer.
We went through a really interesting development process taking that very small and very intimate little book and blowing it up into a full feature film by focusing on the rest of the family. But we really felt that Alexander, as a character is such a sweet, and loveable underdog. There’s a little bit of Alexander in everybody, including adults. Even adults have bad days, and teenagers have bad days, and mommies have bad days. We got to that with the development of the film.
How long did it take for you to create the movie, beginning to end?
Lisa: It’s not one of those movies that had a very long and torturous path. Actually, we-we moved quite steadily towards production after we got the rights to the book and hired Rob Liber to adapt it. And develop quite quickly.
Did you have Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner in mind for these roles?
Lisa: We did have Steve in mind and he had attached himself to the property before it was setup at Disney. So we worked with him in the film in process. Disney introduced us to Jen, um, and she had just done The Odd Life of Timothy Green with them. She’s such a marvelous person, and a wonderful mother, and she’s just perfect for the part, I felt so lucky to get her.
What was your motivation for turning the book into a family movie?
Lisa: We wanted this movie to be appreciated on all levels by every person in the family. I hope that families go all together to see it. There’s so many ways in which families are sort of being split up in their viewing patterns. Kids preferring to watch one thing, adults maybe, even at the exact same time are watching something different. And we would love it if families would watch the film together.
What character in the movie do you relate to the most?
Lisa: Well of course I relate to the mom, because I am a working mother. Trying to get phone calls from your kids at work, that, you know you have to be pulled out of a meeting because your child wants to speak to you right this second. And then it turns out to be something important in their life, but maybe, they could’ve waited. But they don’t know you’re in a meeting. So it’s just that misunderstanding of trying to juggle, you know, working and-and being a mom. I think Jen captured it so well in the film. You can see she really doesn’t want to entirely let go of control. Even though she can’t physically be there to do everything. And that makes her very relatable character.
Steve Carell is a great comedic actor, were any parts that he brought to the movie himself that weren’t necessarily written in his script?
Lisa: Well there’s a lot of hilarity in that Japanese restaurant scene, you know. And he did all of that himself. He caught all those shrimp in his mouth and-
and he did the stunt, he did the stunt with the sleeves himself. He really went all out comically in that scene.
It was great talking with her and getting her perspective on the film.
Here is our group photo with Lisa Henson.
Be sure to check out ALEXANDER AND THE TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY when opens in theaters everywhere tomorrow! (October 10th)
Visit the official website.