Filmmakers: Town adopted the cast and crew | Local news

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THOMASVILLE – Whether it’s finding gifts, bringing “The Tiger Rising” to life, or feeling welcome, the team behind “The Tiger Rising” hosted a welcome session on Sunday and Q&A at the Thomasville Arts Center.

Filming for “The Tiger Rising” is scheduled to wrap up in Thomasville this week, although there is still production work to be done. The idea for the film began 10 years ago, said writer and director Ray Giarratana.

His background was in acting and he was asked if he was interested in adapting something for the screen. She was presented with the book, written by Kate DiCamillo. Giarratana was well acquainted with DiCamillo’s “Because of Winn-Dixie”.

“I immediately connected with the humidity in the woods. I could smell the saw grass where it was happening, ”he said. “I really connected with the way Kate wrote every page of this. Every word is meant to be there, and there’s no extra charge.

Although the film centers on two 12-year-olds, both of whom recently suffered loss and grief, “we’re not making a children’s film,” said Giarratana, who also worked on “John Wick Chapter 3” and “Captain America: Civil War.”

“We try to make a family film that is universal because the story is universal,” he said. “What I think Kate did wonderfully was that she told a human story through the eyes of a 10 year old boy. We all feel hurt and lost. It was important for us to do that. show in larger picture. These are heavy topics and there aren’t many movies like this because it doesn’t fit in a box. It doesn’t fit in a superhero box, it does not fit in a comedy box. ”

“But it’s universal,” Giarratana said.

DiCamillo said that with her, it’s about relationships.

“Stories are a way for me to find my way home and a way to find community,” she said. “I feel there is so much happiness and joy in the books too. Life is both things and I think we are doing children a disservice if we pretend life is all about. good stuff It’s hard to be here, but it’s a gift to be there and we have to make art that tells them that.

Giarratana asked the audience if they had read a book, then went to see the film based on the work, only to come out disappointed.

“We’ve all been to the movies and we’ve read the book and we’re like ‘they messed it up’,” he said, “and that bothers me a lot. We have to make a book into a movie. The two are not the same. It’s like saying I have a house and want to make a plane like that.

“An author can tell you how a character feels. In a movie, we have to show you this.

He also said he approached DiCamillo’s voice in the book “with fear and trembling”.

In the book, 12-year-old Rob and his father move to a rural Florida motel following the death of the boy’s mother. There, his imagination takes flight and he sees a Bengal tiger that the owner of the motel, played by Dennis Quaid, is keeping in the woods. He meets a girl, Sistine, and there’s also the wise chambermaid Willie May, played by Queen Latifah.

Deborah Giarratana, one of the film’s producers, noted that they visited Thomasville three years ago during Victorian Christmas and were charmed by the city.

“We felt like we were at home,” she said.

“And we’re city dwellers, too,” added Ray.

Deborah Giarratana said they could feel the sense of community as they walked through town.

“We wanted to come back,” she said. “That was a big part of that too – we could feel your heart, feel your soul. You wanted us here.

Filming is also taking place in Tifton, and producer Ryan King said the cast and crew loved both towns and both communities embraced the project.

“The reception has been incredible,” he said. “It is important that we treat the community in the right way. One of the most exciting things is having our crew adopted by the community.

“Thomasville has been so good to us. And Tifton kissed us. All of South Georgia took over our team, ”added King. “Both communities hooked up and loved our teams and we are very, very grateful. “

Editor Pat Donahue can be reached at (229) 226-2400 ext. 1806.

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