You can go home again — sometimes with less drama than going to your actual home.
Five years ago, author Jonathan Tropper debuted This Is Where I Leave You at Book Expo America, and on Friday afternoon he returned to his old stomping grounds to present footage from the upcoming film version of the novel, about a combative family brought together by their father’s funeral.
The event kicked off BookCon, the new public section of the convention, and along for the ride were director Shawn Levy (Real Steel, the Night at the Museum movies) and stars Tina Fey and Jason Bateman. “I’m going to keep bringing movie stars on book tours, because I never get this crowd,” Tropper told the packed auditorium.
Here are six things fans should know about the movie, which comes out Sept. 12:
WHY THE FAMILY’S NAME CHANGED
In the novel, the dysfunctional family is named the Foxmans, but the studio had trouble getting legal clearance for that.
“You have to submit names of all the characters, and if there are real people with those names in the community or area represented in the movie, you can’t use that name,” Levy said. “And we didn’t want to change the first names.”
“So Shawn and I started emailing back and forth vaguely Jewish names,” Tropper said.
“I have a friend I do that with, too,” Fey interjected.
Bateman joked that “vaguely Jewish” was “also one of the titles we were thinking about.”
SAVING FAVORITE LINES
The novel is written in the first-person, with Judd
Foxman Altman narrating his own story. But a movie naturally can’t have the same interior perspective, at least not with a crushing amount of narration.
Levy was afraid of losing some of the more memorable lines from the book, so he went through and marked up a copy of the book to highlight narration he wanted Tropper to reconfigure into dialogue.
“I underline everything I loved,” Levy said. “And I still have that copy. I wanted the movie to be, if anything, more faithful to the book.”
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