Finding the right Davey Wexler in Willa Holland

It is quite a daunting task to turn a well loved book character from a Judy Blume novel into a flesh and blood character on screen. Will she meet the author’s expectations? Will she meet the readers’ expectations? In this case, the character is a young teenager who must carry the whole film. Finding an actress still in her youth who can play naive while not being inexperienced is no small feat. Fortunately, through working with talent agents with an eye for strong, yet underexposed talent, the Tiger Eyes production was able to find a great Davey Wexler in Willa Holland.

Holland began her career in modeling at the age of seven and by the time she was 11 years old, she was the top child model in the US. She then went on to land acting roles on TV in The  O.C. and Gossip Girl. But small TV roles cannot compare to taking the lead role  in a film. “It was definitely a unique form of stress that I’d never really felt before. The film was the first time I was ever number one on a project; I was working five days a week, 12-to 18-hour days and there was a lot of stuff going on, a lot of emotional scenes,” Holland told Elle Magazine.

In the latest edition of the Tiger Eyes novel, Judy Blume recounts how she felt about the process of casting Davey. “We must have reviewed over 100 head shots before landing in LA. Larry knew pretty quickly that Willa Holland was the one. Neither of us had seen Gossip Girl or The O.C., and we were glad we hadn’t. To us, she was fresh, talented and believable.” Blume speaks about how the character needed an actress that could hide her emotions while at the same time allow instances of vulnerability to seep through.  In the book, that vulnerability is related in description of situations, but on screen, it has to be accomplished with facial expressions. “Her face is so expressive, it was as if we didn’t need dialog. She makes the movie. Willa Holland is Davey,” Blume told the LA Times.

You may view more of Judy Blume and Willa Holland talking to the LA Times about the film here

After the production wrapped, Willa Holland landed the role of Thea Queen on the CW network’s Arrow series. Season 2 starts tomorrow night and we couldn’t be more proud to see her on the show every week. If you haven’t checked out Arrow yet, give it a watch



Scriptchat and the 100 Great Children’s Books

Thanks to all who joined Larry and Judy on #scriptchat last weekend. It was a lively discussion on what it was like to turn Tiger Eyes from a book into a film. For those who missed it, the archive of the discussion may be found HERE.  As the discussion occurred on the night of the series finale of Breaking Bad, Judy made sure that the chat didn’t spill over. She’s a fan of the show. But before everyone ran for the TV, Larry dropped a scoop about where Tiger Eyes is headed next. See if you find that in the transcript.

The next day, Judy was up bright and early to participate in the launch of the New York Public Library’s 100 Great Children’s Books list and a showcase of The ABC of It: Why Children’s Books Matter exhibit. She appeared with equally iconic children’s author Eric Carle (The Very Hungry Catepillar).

As the opening event was attended by elementary students from Public School 41 in Greenwich Village and Our Lady Queen of Angels School in East Harlem, Judy recounted to them what it was like for her as an elementary school student. “I was for a while shy and quiet in first grade, second grade and third grade. For some reason, I had a complete change and I became more outgoing. I always had stories inside my head, ALWAYS, but I never told anybody about them because I thought if I did, they would think I was weird. I kept my stories to myself. I never wrote them down, never dreamed of writing them down. They were there for me.”

Her advice for starting to write? “Start on the day something different happens.” Also, if you’ve ever wanted to Judy Blume to read to you, you’ll really enjoy the video.

The event was live streamed, but also recorded and you may watch their chat here: 

Later, she toured the exhibit and found herself in the car from The Phantom Tollbooth. FUN!

Judy in car

 A reminder that Tiger Eyes is now available in the US and Canada via iTunes, Xbox, PlayStation Network and Youtube Movies. If you haven’t check out it out, make plans to do so this weekend. If you are lucky enough to live in the Washington, DC or Seattle areas, the film will be on the big screen. In Washington, DC, it will play the Jewish Literary Festival on October 15 with director Lawrence Blume in attendance. In Seattle, it will play the Northwest Film Forum for a week starting October 25. Tickets are available here.

We are working on getting the film into other countries. So far, we’ve heard fan requests from UK, Ireland, Germany and France. If you would like to see Tiger Eyes in your country, give us a shoutout on our Facebook page or a tweet to @tigereyesmovie.

Commemorating Banned Books Week

Did you know that the Tiger Eyes novel is still on the banned books list, even 32 years after its publication? It currently sits at #89 on the  American Library Association list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990-2000 due to the story’s inclusion of teen drinking, death, and depression. Although the film has received a family seal of approval by the Dove Foundation, the book continues to be challenged in American communities. Banned Books Week is sponsored by the American Library Association to celebrate the freedom to seek and  express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular. For ideas on how to participate, visit the ALA site.

TE and places

Judy has a section of her website devoted to the fight for intellectual freedom and it contains both her own experiences and some tools for combating censorship in your community. There is a toolkit developed by the National Coalition Against Censorship which includes sample letters for complaint responses, a list of the most common objections made against books and how objections must be registered, and organizations that give guidance on dealing with censorship debates in communities. She also included the foreword from a book she edited in 1999 called Places I Never Meant to Be: Original Stories from Censored Writers in which she talks about her first experience with parental censorship in her family, library censorship in her community, and later, censorship of her own writing. Of her early writing career, she says, “If someone had told me then I would become one of the most banned writers in America, I’d have laughed.”

In analyzing the word ban, as in forbid, prohibit, or restrict, Judy asks,”What do these words mean to writers and the stories they choose to tell? And what do they mean to readers and the books they choose to read?” Good questions because frequently writers self censor during the writing process. Not necessarily because they fear outside forces (publishers, libraries, parents etc), but because the act of writing can be an isolating process filled with self doubt and discouragement. Will the book sell? Will people like it? Am I good enough? Should the story be written in a certain way that will enable it to appeal to the widest audience possible? Will it reach the widest audience possible, or will it stay only as a file on my computer?  All of these questions creep into the writing process even before considering the idea that an organization might find fault in the work and keep it from readers.

Scriptwriters and filmmakers who want to reach a wide audience also have to deal with these issues, first in the writing and next in the execution of bringing the work to life on screen and finally in the ratings process whereby a film is submitted to the MPAA (in the US) or other ratings bodies for a classification. While these ratings organizations do not call what they do censorship, the rating of a film does determine where or if it will be seen. Films with an NC17 rating, for example, generally have a difficult time finding theaters willing to screen them. Many smaller independent films do not apply to the ratings board (due to expense) and can find cinemas willing to screen them unrated, but it definitely curtails the ability to find a wide audience.

If you are a writer, screenwriter, novelist, poet etc, you may be interested in participating in an upcoming Twitter discussion with Judy and our film’s director, Lawrence Blume on September 29. Find out how they adapted the Tiger Eyes story for the screen, challenges they encountered and decisions they made while shooting, and how the film is being distributed. All great information if you ever dreamed of writing for the screen or turning your work into a film. You will meet other screenwriters as well as filmmakers looking to collaborate with writers.

To participate, you must have a Twitter account and follow the hashtag #scriptchat and it is best to use a chat tool such as TWUBS or in order to keep up with the activity. That hashtag always has conversation happening so feel free to try it out ahead of time. The chat will start at 8pm Eastern time, 5pm Pacific time.   For more information and some interesting video links, go to the Scriptchat website.

See you on Twitter!



Connect with Lawrence and Judy Blume

There are several opportunities coming up to ask your burning questions about Tiger Eyes.

On September 20 and 21, Tiger Eyes will be screening at Cinema Paradiso in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The 8pm showing on the 20th will feature a Skype Q&A with director Lawrence Blume and the 2pm showing on the 21st will feature a skype Q&A with Judy Blume. Audience members are invited to give feedback and ask questions such as what went into adapting the book, shooting on location in New Mexico, working with mom/son, and casting the perfect Davey Wexler. Tickets are now on sale at the Cinema Paradiso site. The film will also screen on September 25 & 26.

Judy skype qa in ft lauderdale

For screenwriters and novelists, an upcoming Twitter discussion may be of interest. On Sunday, September 29th at 5pm PST (8pm EST) #Scriptchat will feature Judy Blume @judyblume and Lawrence Blume to discuss adapting Judy’s book, Tiger Eyes @tigereyesmovie, for the screen. ScriptChat was created for the purpose of bringing new and seasoned screenwriters together to navigate the industry and learn how to write better screenplays. Anyone with a Twitter account may participate by adding the #scriptchat hashtag to tweets.  Failure to use the hashtag will result in your tweets going unseen by the other participants. To make it easier, log into the TWUBS site and it will automatically add the hashtag to all of your tweets. If you don’t usually participate in hashtag discussions, find some useful information HERE. As the discussion is about scriptwriting and filmmaking, please keep your questions limited to this topic. The following day, an archive of the discussion will be available for all to review.


Washington, DC will also screen the film on October 15 at 7:30pm as part of the  Hyman S. and Freda Bernstein Jewish Literary Festival. Lawrence Blume will be in attendance at the screening and participate in the live Q&A. Tickets to the festival are now on sale

Lawrence at the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival smaller

We are gradually adding media to this website. In the navigation bar, click to Cast and Crew and on Tatanka Means’ photo, you will see a short interview with him on set discussing his career as an Indian American actor. There are more interviews with other cast members on the way so check back to the site, as well as on our Facebook and Pinterest pages. We will also send notifications to our email list on upcoming screenings, further countries where the film will be available, and when you can own it on DVD. Join the list to be the first to hear about new developments and chances to meet Judy and Lawrence.

Welcome to our new blog/news update section!

Here you will find the latest developments with the film, plus some inside information on the making of Tiger Eyes.

It was a busy summer touring with the film and giving interviews. It was such a gratifying experience to view the film with an audience and see their positive response to bringing one of Judy’s most beloved teenage characters, Davey Wexler, to the silver screen. The film is still playing in select cities with upcoming screenings in Ft. LauderdaleWashington, DC  and Seattle. If you are in one of those cities, please make plans to see the film on the  big screen. There may even be a chance to see Lawrence and Judy live or via Skype to answer your questions.


You can even help bring the film to your local cinema (US only) if it isn’t currently scheduled. Team Tiger Eyes has partnered with a new company called Gathr , a Theatrical On Demand service, to help you bring the film to your town. Simply visit the Gathr site. In the FILMS section, find the Tiger Eyes poster and click on REQUEST A NEW SCREENING for the movie. Enter in the time, date, and location you want to screen in, and Gathr will help arrange your screening. There is a requirement to sell a minimum number of tickets in order for the screening to happen, so try teaming up with a club, library, church or any other suitable organization in your town in order to reach the minimum ticket threshold.


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