As Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day comes to home video, we interviewed Judith Viorst, the author of the original book.
Ben Breitbart: First of all congratulations on the film success, inspired by your book. What’s it like to have something that you created decades ago become a major successful motion picture today?
Judith Viorst: Well, very amazing, and very unbelievable because people have been trying to make a movie out of this book almost as soon as I finished writing it. And, have optioned scripts about it, optioned it somewhere else, and somewhere else. So, when I first heard that Disney was interested in it. I thought, oh here we go again. But, by God they did it. And, so I was quite thrilled and so was all my family. And actually my friends too. It made quite splash around here.
Ben Breitbart: What do you think it is about your book that has made it a timeless classic over the generations?
Judith Viorst: Well, timeless classic you said it not me, but I love it. I get letters from kids all the time, and always have since the book came out. And, it’s always the same point that they’re making which tells me why they’re connected to this book. I had a bad day too, this happened to me too. Well you think that was bad, let me tell you what my day was like.
There is something about we’re all in this together, we’ve all had this happen to us. Everybody has a bad day. That I think is a point of connection among all the people who read it and the book.
Ben Breitbart: Now, obviously they’ve had to expand your original book to fill it out for a movie, which can sometimes be contentious. How do you feel about how they transitioned your book to screen?
Judith Viorst: I was very aware when this book was actually going to become a movie that it was … I could not think this is my movie this is Disney’s movie based on my book. It’s 32 pages long, it’s go big type, it’s got a very small simple story. And, there’s no way it could be made into a movie without adding material.
So, I had to trust the people who were making the movie. And, I’ve seen enough of Disney to have confidence in them. And, also let it go and say, their going to come up with things that I never thought of. They’re going to do it a way I never thought of. And, it’s their movie and they’ve got wonderful people in it, writing in it, acting in it, writing it and acting in it. Just back off, lean back and let’s see what happens. So, I was quite good about it, I was not Emma Thompson in “Saving Mr. Banks.”
Ben Breitbart: Good reference there. With that being said, how do you feel about the final result?
Judith Viorst: I was very pleased with it. I went to see a screening of it here in Washington with a lot of my children and grandchildren. I think there was 17 of us, very grubby on morning before the movie came out. And, considering the hyper-criticalness of this whole family, the approval rating was between an 8 and a 9 which I thought was really amazing. So, yeah I am satisfied with the final result.
Ben Breitbart: That is quite amazing, so I’m glad that you’re satisfied. So, can you give us a little insight into as to what you’ve been up to since the book was published?
Judith Viorst: Well, I’m a writer of children’s books and grown up books, and I’m always writing something. So, I had this past 2015 when this movie came out, I also had three new books come out. One about a little girl named LuLu, a fourth Alexandra book. And, one called “And Two Boys Booed” about a kid with stage fright at a talent show at school.
So, 2014 was a very busy year for me. And, I have a book of grown up poems coming out this year called “Wait for Me” and other poems about the irritations and consultations of a long marriage. I’ve written a lot of humorous poems for adults and this is the latest one.
And, in 2016 I’m just going over the art work now for a book called “What Are You glad About, What Are You Mad About” which is a book of poems for kids, that name with the subtitle “Poems for When a Person Needs a Poem.” And, I’m working on another book as we speak.
Ben Breitbart: Well, sounds great sounds like you kept busy.
Judith Viorst: Yes, very busy. I would like to say for the older folks out there on the balcony, 84-years-old and we are not slowing down yet.
Ben Breitbart: Oh, wow that’s impressive. So, have you found that maybe the movie has regarnered an interest in our books?
Judith Viorst: I think so, My children’s books are pretty well in general over the decades. But, Alexander has always been the number one seller. And, certainly if sales and will have increased, will increase because of the movie. I think people will want to read the book. I think people who read the book want to see the movie. And people who see the movie want to read the book. It’s your perfect example of synergy, or whatever that word means.
Ben Breitbart: Well, perfect. Congratulations on the movie, congratulations on your continued success. And, as a fan of your work I’m glad you haven’t slowed down.
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day is now available on Blu-ray, Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere