Children’s author Judy Blume’s book “Tiger Eyes” has been adapted into a movie that will be released this summer. It is the first-ever film version of one of Blume’s books.
Blume adapted the book for the screen with her son Lawrence.
The fact that the movie is being released by an independent studio, Freestyle Digital Media, and in a fairly quiet fashion (it’s coming to theaters in a limited release and will be available on demand as well as on iTunes) has been a positive thing, Lawrence told Entertainment Weekly.
“The fact that we had total artistic control is rare,” he said of the filmmaking process. “For better or worse, it’s our movie.”
“We were able to do this with really nobody watching,” Blume added. “And it looks beautiful.”
“Tiger Eyes” follows Davey and her family – mother Gwen and brother Jason – after her father, Adam, is shot in a convenience store robbery. The family goes to stay in New Mexico with Davey’s aunt and uncle as Davey tries to recover from the death of her father.
Lawrence told EW that he first read “Tiger Eyes” when he was in college and that the book “affected [him] deeply,” partially because he and Blume moved to New Mexico when he was a teenager after Blume and his father divorced, and he struggled there.
“The divorce was hard, and what brought us to New Mexico was a guy,” Blume said of the time. “I don’t want to get into all that – but there was the good and the bad and the evil and the ugly.”
Lawrence said it was difficult getting the film made despite Blume’s fame and the current multiple young adult book adaptations happening at the movies.
“It’s a Judy Blume movie,” he said. “That should be enough, you would think. What shocked me was that a big segment of the business knew who Judy Blume was but they didn’t understand who she was. Part of it is that the film business is run mostly by old white men – and some young ones, too – who didn’t grow up with her books.”
Blume’s writing has been adapted for TV previously, including a version of “Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great” which aired on television in 1991 and the TV series “Fudge,” which aired for two years starting in 1997 and was based off her children’s series which focused on little brother Fudge and his long-suffering older brother Peter.
The movie deal was originally with Amber Entertainment, but after filming the movie, the Blumes and the company parted ways. They eventually landed with Freestyle Digital Media.
Making the movie with Lawrence was “the highlight of my life,” Blume said.