Fantasy book becomes Hollywood fairytale

Category: Nim's Island News | Posted by: admin
Article Date: February 23, 2008 | Publication: Sydney Morning Herald | Author: editors
Publication/Article Link:Sydney Morning Herald

For someone who's "never been interested in movies" Australian author Wendy Orr has found herself right in the thick of one ... red carpet treatment and all.

Her book Nim's Island, a children's fantasy novel, has been picked up by Hollywood and made into a major motion picture set to premiere on screens around the world from next month.

And Orr, who lives far from the Hollywood spotlight on Melbourne's Mornington Peninsula, will soon walk the red carpet at the film's Los Angeles premiere with its stars, Jodie Foster, Gerard Butler and Abigail Breslin.

Speaking to AAP, Orr said she never dreamt she would be launched into the glitz and glamour of Hollywood when she wrote her 120-page novel, published in 1999.

Taking 12 drafts over 18 months to perfect, Nim's Island is the story of a feisty young girl, named Nim, who lives on a tropical island with her father and several exotic animal friends.

When she finds herself alone and needing help, she writes to her favourite literary hero, adventurer Alex Rover.

Unknown to her, Rover is only a fictional creation of Alexandra Rover, a faint hearted, reclusive author who has not left her city apartment in far off San Francisco for months.

Despite this, Alexandra and Nim get together and through adventures ranging from swinging overhead through the jungle to being dragged through the water by sea lions, they make a connection that shows them both how strong they can be.

Starring Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine, Raising Helen) as Nim, Foster (Taxi Driver, The Accused, Silence of the Lambs) as Alexandra and Butler (300, PS I Love You) as both Nim's father Jack and Alex Rover, the film was shot last year on Queensland's Gold Coast beaches and Hinchinbrook Island rainforest.

Orr said the story had survived the screen writing process and star studded line-up to remain true to its roots as a childrens' action adventure.

"The story itself is the same, the characters are the same and the tone is the same," Orr said.

"Nim is the main character and I was very impressed that they managed to stick to that, with someone of the calibre of Jodie Foster, it's still Nim's movie, which is pretty amazing actually."

Foster, a two-time Academy Award winner, surprised the movie's producers by approaching them to ask for the Alexandra role.

Producer Paula Mazur said she was thrilled and surprised when Foster pursued the part, saying she had fallen in love with an early draft of the script.

Mazur first stumbled on the Nim's Island novel, which has been published in six countries and soon will be sold in several more, in a library in Los Angeles.

Intrigued by the title, she took the book home to read to her children and immediately wanted to make it into a movie.

Orr, who has also written young adult and adult fiction, published a sequel to Nim's Island last year, but said the movie producers were waiting to see how the original fared before deciding on a sequel.

She says while being thrown into Hollywood has changed her life for the last few years, giving her publicity that childrens' authors, with the notable exception of Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, don't normally get, it hasn't changed her life forever.

"It's changed living for the moment, but it's like an adventure along the way," she said.

"I don't think its going to change my life completely, I wouldn't want it to. I like my life."

Nim's Island opens in Australian cinemas on April 3.