It’s taken over 30 years to get Judy Blume’s classic 1981 novel Tiger Eyes on the big screen. In fact, this is the first time any of her 25 wildly successful books (with sales exceeding 80 million copies) have been turned into a movie. Maybe she was waiting for the right director? Blume co-wrote the screenplay with son Lawrence Blume, who also directs this touching coming-of-age story of a teenager (played by Gossip Girl‘s Willa Holland) who is reluctantly uprooted to New Mexico with her mother (Felicity‘s Amy Jo Johnson) and younger brother. “For years and years people would say, ‘We want to do something.’ But they never knew what they wanted to do,” says Judy, an avid movie lover (her husband is a co-founder of nonprofit theater, Tropic Cinema in Key West). “I called these the ‘Judy Sweetheart’ lunches,” she laughs. “But they’d always wait for me to say what to do. I wanted someone to feel passionately about it.”
Lawrence Blume first read his mother’s book when he was freshman in college. “The second I read it I thought, this should be a movie,” he says. “It’s always resonated with me.” Mother and son worked closely together throughout pre-production and the 24-day shoot. (The film is due to be released later this year.) “Larry was very generous to me on the set,” Judy says. “Mother and child working together, you never know how it’s going to go. But I think we’re both old enough now to understand what’s important.”
For more on Tiger Eyes, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands now.