Monday, May 7, 2012

Interview: Jason Winn Talks The Fat Boy Chronicles

People who are constantly struggling to lose weight can face cruel ridicule by their peers, particularly younger teens who are still learning to adjust to middle school and high school. The negative emotional effects bullying has on younger teens can be psychologically damaging, but the film industry has been teaching them recently that they’re not alone, and there are people who care about them. First time feature film director Jason Winn’s new drama ‘The Fat Boy Chronicles,’ which is based on the acclaimed novel of the same name by Diane Lang and Michael Buchanan, follows 14-year-old Jimmy Winterpock, played by Christopher Rivera. Jimmy, who weighs 187 pounds, is often bullied by his classmates. Life for him outside the comfort of his home and church is difficult, as the taunts of his classmates while in school and during sports make him feel humiliated. But he remains positive by focusing on his goals of losing weight and wining the girl of his dreams. Winn generously took the time to chat over the phone what motivated him to adapt Jimmy’s story for the screen. The director also discussed, among other things, what the casting process for Jimmy was like, and how the character reflects the constant struggles bullied teens live with every day. Written by: Karen Benardello ShockYa (SY): You directed the new drama ‘The Fat Boy Chronicles,’ which is based on the acclaimed novel of the same name by Diane Lang and Michael Buchanan. What was your motivation in adapting the story of the main character, Jimmy Winterpock, into a film? How much knowledge did you have of the book before you began shooting? Jason Win (JW): Well, I was able to read the manuscript before the book was actually published. So I was always drawn to the character of Jimmy Winterpock, and the things that he was doing. Having been a teenager once myself, I could relate to the situations that he was in. As far as my motivations in making the film, it was important to me to make a film that would resonate with parents and kids, and wouldn’t talk down to kids. It would talk to them on their level. We wanted to show what it was really like to go to high school, and how it can be mean and wonderful, but we didn’t want to do it in a caricature way; we wanted to make it real. Hopefully that came across. SY: Diane and Michael also wrote the screenplay for the film. What was your working relationship with them like as you were shooting ‘The Fat Boy Chronicles?’ JW: It was great. Mike and Diane wrote an amazing script, and they turned it over to me whole-heartedly. They allowed me to take the script and all of its wonderful aspects, and add all the things that needed to be added, in order to make it a great film. They were very collaborative. I would say, we don’t have time to shoot this, so we’ve got to get this emotion across in a short period of time. You’ve got to write a scene that kind of looks like this, and they would go off on set and write it. It was done very quickly. It was a constant, well-oiled machine, basically, when we were in production. To continue reading this interview, please visit Shockya.

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