Shawn Levy and the 'Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day'
by Ethan Anderton
July 26, 2010
In the line of cinematic adaptations of some of my favorite childhood books, I am sad to say that I've never been completely satisfied with one. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the live-action one) completely missed the mark, Jumanji has its moments and despite all the hipster hype, Where the Wild Things Are just didn't move me as much as I'd hoped. Consequently, I'm a little apprehensive as Variety reports 20th Century Fox and Shawn Levy (Night at the Museum, Date Night) are developing an adaptation of the children's book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day as a high-concept family comedy.
Judith Viorst's book follows on hell of a terrible day for youngster Alexander as he wakes up with gum in his hair, doesn't get a prize in his cereal, finds out he has a cavity, has lima beans for dinner and gets demoted to third best friend by his buddy Paul. There are plenty more terrible things that happen throughout his day, but we won't list them all here. Apparently The Jim Henson Co. held the rights to the film and has assigned them to Fox for the adaptation. I'm not exactly sure what will make the film so high-concept, but apparently it involves Alexander's entire family collectively enduring the worst day of their lives (wait, what?). Though The Jim Henson Co. brought the project to Levy's 21 Laps production banner for their success with family films, the project isn't necessarily being set up as a directing gig for Levy (but it's not fully ruled out either).
I've been a Shawn Levy apologist for awhile, and I maintain that he has a great eye for family entertainment. In addition, without saying too much, I have confidence that plenty of you will be surprised with what Levy can do with material outside of the fluffy family fare wheelhouse when more of Real Steel is revealed in the coming year or so. Levy is a guy who doesn't have a problem delivering softer material to an age appropriate audience, but can also deliver something grittier with more substance. I'm sure we'll be hearing more about Levy's future endeavors including this adaptation and more, so stay tuned! Anyone else excited for this?