Author Beverly Cleary's "Ramona" hits big screen

Fri Jul 23, 2010 5:37pm EDT
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By Martin A. Grove

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - It's hard enough making movies with kids in supporting roles, but it's way more challenging when a film stars a 9-year-old newcomer who's in every scene and can only work six hours a day.

That's what Elizabeth Allen faced directing Fox 2000 and Walden Media's family comedy "Ramona and Beezus," opening today from Fox 2000.

The film is adapted from Beverly Cleary's series of "Ramona" books, which go back more than 50 years and have sold 30 million copies.

Joey King, who makes her debut as Ramona, was cast after a year-long search that had Allen and producers Denise Di Novi and Alison Greenspan considering nearly a thousand youngsters. Ramona's 15-year-old sister Beezus is played by Selena Gomez from television's "The Wizards of Waverly Place."

Managing a shooting schedule based on a kid's work hours and bringing it in for less than $15 million, which includes expensive literary rights, kept Allen on her toes.

"We decided to do something a little bit unusual and I waived all overtime," she said.

Generally, production days run about 14 hours, but "Ramona's" were cut to eight.

"We were able to squeeze a couple more days out of it because we didn't go into overtime and we kept our days really short. So we did 42 days of eight-hour days."   Continued...