Friday, September 16, 2011

Sean's passion project: Number the Stars

At the Story 2011 conference in Chicago this week, Sean Astin talked about his "passion project," a film adaptation of the children's novel "Number the Stars," with a script written by Sean and his wife, Christine. The book is based on the true story of a young girl and her family who help Jewish friends escape from the Nazis in Denmark in 1943.

The hand in this movie poster belongs to Sean's middle daughter, Elizabeth.

Last spring, Sean and his family met with Lois Lowry, author of the Newbery Award winning novel, at the Getty Center in Los Angeles over tea. In her blog, Lowry wrote: It was interesting to be in public with Sean, whose face is well known because of the Lord of the Rings movies, and to see the number of fans who come up to him and say, "Are you..." "Could you possibly be..?" "Can you sign my child's sweatshirt?" "Can I have my photo taken with you?" and to see that he remains cheerful and gracious. Fame could be a nuisance, I think.

Lois and Sean at Getty Museum. Photo courtesy Lois Lowry.

Lowry also said: [Sean] and his wife have written a wonderful script that is quite true to the book; they have spent time in Denmark doing research and have made all of the preparations for the film...all but the money-raising! And now they are hard at work on that. [private communication]

Sean is taking an unusual approach to fund-raising, working to get all the money lined up before continuing with other aspects of the movie-making process, such as attaching actors. He believes by doing it this way, he will better be able to control the creative process and complete the project as he envisions it.

"I'm willing to fail and do it this way, rather than compromise my integrity," Sean said.


I have every confidence in him. After all, this is the guy who carried his friend barefoot up an active volcano, found a treasure-filled pirate ship, and despite being 5 foot nothin', sacked the opposing team's quarterback in a game for the Fighting Irish!


"Number the Stars" is available on Apple's iBookstore, in audiobook form, and at most booksellers.

30 comments:

  1. Wonderful write up- thanks. I so hope Sean will get the funding he needs to film 'Number the Stars'!!

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  2. THIS is the movie eveyone has been waiting for. Hope the funding comes through very soon. I am sure it will be just brilliant.

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  3. Praeriedikter, have you read the book? It's a wonderful story, and will make a wonderful movie!

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  4. Can't Wait Can't wait!! I read this book with my fourth graders and everytime I am asked is there a movie because this is a great book!

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    1. Anon, I haven't heard any updates on this lately, but I know it's a project Sean will not give up on. He is determined to see it through, and this is Rudy/Samwise/Mikey talking! ;-)

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  5. I am a 5th grade teacher and my students read this book during the school year. My students love this book and will be happy to know it will be a movie. I have faith trust in you Mr. Astin, that you represent this book as best as you can. I am excited to show this movie to my students when it is released. Thank you again!

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  6. This would be such a wonderful addition to the genre. It was one of my favorite books when I was in 6th grade, and believe me I wasn't too interested in books at the time.

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  7. I would like to know about the actors and actresses

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    1. No cast has been named yet. Sean is still fund-raising.

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    2. I am a fifth grade school teacher from Ky. "Number the Stars" was a book I chose to use as a read-aloud for my class this past year. The students absolutely loved it! It was so exciting to see my fifteen students (I teach at a small Catholic school.) hanging on to every word I read. Most of them said if was the best book they had ever read (or had read to them). My prayer is that funding will be provided. Truly, Number the Stars is children's literature at its best! Best wishes. Mrs. Collins from KY

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  8. A fan base is already waiting for the movie - Go Sean Astin!

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  9. Number the Stars is my absolute favorite book. It's a definite tear jerker, especially since my ancestors survived the Holocaust. My 5th graders are reading the book right now and completing a book study. I teach at a economically disadvantaged school and have been struggling all year to get them to read a book with substance. We started our book study yesterday, and today when they walked in to my classroom all 25 of them immediately put down their things, got a Number the Stars book, and began reading and working on their packets!!! :D I wish we had the movie to watch once they completed their book study.

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  10. My students in York, Nebraska absolutely love this novel! Sean, please see this project through so many more people can enjoy the story, Number the Stars......THANKS!

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  11. My fifth grade class at Bremond Elementary, a small town in central TX, just finished the book as well. "It was the best book they've ever read", the class informed me. I too wish we could watch the movie. Most of the documentaries are geared for high school so I am leary of showing them.

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  12. My 5th grade class just finished it, too! They would love seeing the "Number the Stars" movie!

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  13. I am in the process of reading "Number the Stars" to my class right now. They absolutely LOVE it!! I do wish the film version was available as an extension. Hoping you get the funding in order to make this possible!!

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  14. We are looking to purchase the movie - to compare/contrast with the novel that all 5th graders in our large District read - Has it been made? Where can we buy a copy?

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    1. The movie has not been made yet. Sean is still hoping to raise the funds to get it done.

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  15. OMGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am a 4th grader from North Carolina and a I love Lois. If this was a movie i would die- where can we donate to sean.. my school may give/send money?

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  16. What is the status on the making of the movie?

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    1. Unfortunately, Sean was unable to raise sufficient funding for the movie.

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    2. So is he going to stop? Or will he continue to try and make and fund for a movie?

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    3. Yes he is working on funding. He is hoping to launch something in a few months.

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    4. So how can i help possibly?

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    5. if there is any way i can help with funding for the movie, can you let me know? Also can i know an update in those few months you said he would launch something hopefully

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    6. If you have a facebook account, follow https://www.facebook.com/NumbertheStarsMovie/ for updates.

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    7. ok. Let me know if i can help in any way too

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    8. just one more question. He's not gonna stop trying to make the movie is he?

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    9. Who can say what will happen? But he outright owns the rights to the book, and he's a determined guy!

      Also, you can send an email to Support@NumberTheStarsMovie.com to get on his mailing list. I'm not sure if the auto-responder is working, but he'll have your email, and will send out updates when there's any news.

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