Today’s the Day! (and premiere news)

Well, this is a first for me. I’m blogging to you from 40,000 feet on my way to California. Why is it that any time you fly and they show sitcoms it’s the ONE EPISODE of that sitcom that you’ve already seen? And why does time move so slowly on an airplane? Back on earth, no doubt three years have passed while I’ve been cowering in this seat praying to any kind of immortal being that happens to be listening.

What a weird thought—I’m not on earth right now.

But I digress. I’m here to talk about the JEREMY FINK PREMIERE in NYC last night! Watching it on a big screen with a live audience was an amazing experience—especially when most of the cast was in the audience with you. The humor and heart of the movie really jumped out at me, and the actors who brought it to life did such an amazing job. I know there were a lot of tough choices to make in terms of what to keep from the book and what to let go, and I hope when you guys see it you’ll keep in mind that not everything can make it in. That said, they added some things too, which I wound up loving. Too bad I can’t rewrite the book to include some of them! The cast and crew worked so hard last summer in the sweltering NYC heat to bring the book to life and finally got to see the fruit of their labors. The writer/director Tamar Halpern brought her own insights and heart to the film while and strived to make every scene special. She added some super-cool stop-action animation throughout that conveyed Jeremy’s thoughts in a way that live-action couldn’t.

The moment I met Max Beer I knew he was Jeremy. Seeing him on screen only strengthened that belief. He brought Jeremy’s insecurities to life in such a believable way, and then grew along with the character as he went on his journey. As Lizzy, the wonderfully talented Ryan Simpkins brought a vulnerability and feistiness to her character that lit up the screen. The beautiful and gifted Mira Sorvino as Jeremy’s mom brought her own unique magic to the film. She was able to give the relationship between Jeremy and his mom more depth than it had in the book. Joe Pantoliano as Mr. Oswald was hilariously wacky. His interpretation of the character was very different from the book’s, but I loved it. (I should note, I’m a longtime fan of these guys. Rory and Michelle’s High School Reunion? Midnight Run? Modern classics!!)

I also thought it was amazing that the director and producers found such talented, spirited actors to play the people that Jeremy and Lizzy met on their journey. Even if they only had a scene or two, each of these actors brought something special to their role and they were a pleasure to watch. I loved every scene with Michael Urie as James. He had such a believable connection with Jeremy and an ever-present glint in his eye. Mike Starr as the police officer who gives them community service brought unexpected humor to that scene (as did the kids). Betsy Brandt did the same with her role as Madame Zalensky near the end of the film. Her accent! Those facial expressions! I could watch that scene over and over. And talk about facial expressions—Markley Rizzi as Oswald’s housekeeper was hilarious in a really subtle way. Marian Seldes threw herself into the role of the unstable Mrs. Billingsly with zest. Roscoe Orman (the beloved Gordon from Sesame Street!) as the astrophysicist Dr. Grady just lit up the screen with his gentle warmth and bright-eyed enthusiasm. Heather Braverman and Ryan Glassman brought the perfect amount of snark to their roles as new neighbors Samantha and Rick. David Thornton added a whole new level of oddness to the role of Simon Rudolph, and Daniel Cosgrove brought humor and kindness to the role of Lizzy’s dad.

I think the movie and the book really compliment each other. If you see the movie first, then read the book, you’ll find some subplots that couldn’t fit into the movie and these will fill out Jeremy’s world even more for you. And if you see the movie after you read the book, then you’ll get to see this imaginary world brought to life by amazingly talented actors who truly embody their roles.

The producer of the film, Lauren Bullock, spoke beforehand. She stressed how important it is to live every moment, to embrace it all, to fully live life, the ups and the downs. To prove her point, she had to leave the premier early to visit her dad in the hospital. And that’s exactly how life is. It gives you great moments of joy, and great moments of sadness, often within hours of each other. And it does this over and over again like a giant roller coaster. I can attest to that, too. I spent the day of the premier waist deep in water that swept away half of our house. A line from the poem Desiderata by Max Ehrmann helped me to remain sane as I washed off the mud and put on a dress: Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. Being surrounded in that theater by relatives, old friends, new friends, my wonderful publishers and agents gave me a night I will never forget and I am very grateful. I am grateful too, for the readers of the book who have waited so patiently and enthusiastically for the movie to come out. And not one of them will complain that Lizzy’s hair is blond not red. RIGHT? ;o)

So get thee to Walmart today for your very own Platinum Collectors Edition!

The plane is FINALLY landing in sunny California where I’ll be embarking on a week-long book tour for 13 GIFTS. The roller coaster ride of life continues. As I am forced to “turn off all electronic devices” for landing, I will leave you with this hope—may all your roller coasters only go up. At least for a while.


Ryan, me, Max outside the theater


Above–movie spotted in New Jersey under New Releases!


And in Northern California where I bought my copy!


  1. Oh, yay!!!!! I am so happy the movie is finally out! I think I will ask for it for Christmas, but I don’t know if I can wait that long or not. 😉

  2. Excited!!
    I’m in the middle of 13 Gifts and I LOVE it!!
    You’re amazing!

  3. Hello!!,
    Oh my gosh!! It’s here!! It’s HEREEE!! I’m SO excited!!

  4. YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! This was such a great post I almost started clapping after I was done reading it (don’t worry, I didn’t ;)) You look great in the pic with Ryan and Max. I love Ryan’s dress, and your boots are simply fabulous!

  5. Karen Rittle says:

    We live in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin and our Wal-mart does not have Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life yet. We did not find it on, either. We really want to get it!

    NOTE FROM WENDY: I don’t think it’s available online (it will be when it moves to wide release in a few months). Did you ask at the store if they were going to get it?

  6. I just finished watching the movie and I must say that was incredible. I’ve read the book many times, as it is my favorite ever and it changed my life from the first page. I admit that at first I thought I would be quite disappointed in the movie, but I am sitting here crying and am more touched than I’ve been in a long time. Once again, Jeremy Fink has changed my life.

    NOTE FROM WENDY: Wow, that’s so great!! Thank you for sharing that!! You totally rock!! (pun intended!)

    • Awww, that’s so sweet. I’m glad to know that an avid Jeremy Fink book lover approves of the movie. My friend and I promised each other that we would read the book again before we watched the movie, though. 😉

  7. Cindy Sherwood says:

    Hi Wendy,
    We chatted briefly last weekend at the Mission Viejo Readers’ Festival. My daughter just finished 13 Gifts–she said she loved it, especially the ending!
    A question for you–she needs a word count on it for a program where the kids read a million words. Do you remember the approximate count? (It’s too new to find listed yet.)

    Thank you!

    NOTE FROM WENDY: I’m so glad she liked it!! There were 89,923 words according to my last draft, so that’s probably a good enough estimate. :o)

  8. Wendy,
    I am so excited the movie is out!! Do you know how long it will be out by any chance?? Thanks! I think your an amazing author Wendy. I finished 13 gifts about a month ago and I am so excited for another book!! Thanks again!

    NOTE: The movie is on DVD now, so it will be out forever. :o)

  9. Welcome to the game, Grace!(;

  10. I really can’t wait to watch the the movie!
    I really want to watch it !
    I don’t live in America , so there is no Walmart
    I have to wait months untill I watch it or I could ask
    somebody to buy it for me!

  11. WHOOOOO! That sounds awesome! I CANNOT wait to get it! I’m going to make my mom take me to get it this weekend (: Haha! I wanna invite my besties Sarah and Jesse over to watch it (they’ve both posted on here before (: haha), cuz they both love it! I’m just wondering… I know you mentioned thinking about a sequel to JFATMOL in one of your former posts, and a sequel to Every Soul A Star… Are those still being considered? If so, I would be zealous!

  12. Trinity Rose says:

    Oh my goodness! I got my new copy of 13 gifts and I am reading it now. I also bought Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life at walmart the first day they got it and i love it! The movie is a little different but the characters are almost exactly as i pictured them and i like all the things they added. I always get so excited when one of my favorite authors books become a movie. I told my friends and they all want it too. I am currently buying all your books online and cant wait until your next book comes out.

  13. The movie isn’t at any of my local Walmarts! I live in a large city, so I thought it would most likely be at one (if not all) the Walmarts. Do you know anything about the release plan, is Walmart only selling it in certain places, like the Northeast or the West Coast (near NY and California)? I was really looking forward to watching the movie and am very disappointed that it’s not in Walmart!

    P.S. Lizzy has RED Hair!? I’ve read the book twice and have always imagined her with blond!

    NOTE FROM WENDY: it’s supposed to be in all of them…did you ask at the front desk? Sometimes it’s hard to find. In a few months it will be available at other places, too, and i’ll let you know. :o)

  14. I’m SOOOO excited for the movie!! I can not wait to buy it!!! (: I’m so excited for 13 gifts (although, every time I go to my book store, I look every where and I can not find it!!) I know your prolly scratching your head right now, thinking, “Huh??” I don’t know why either, it’s strange. Anyway, I’m SUPER excited for the movie!!! I’m so happy that u enjoyed it!! I really enjoyed Jeremy Fink. I cried on the last couple of pages though…

  15. i am sorry to say this but…your movie is not in wallmart i have looked everywhere and cant find it!!! :(((((

    Note from wendy: Find JEREMY FINK– the movie!! at, then everywhere in March! Follow the link:

  16. Just got the book for christmas hoping to read it soon!

  17. When I read Jeremy Fink I pictured Lizzy`S hair Blond!

  18. I completely agree with what you said about the movie :) All the characters are great and also, they really matched the book. Right now it’s my favorite movie :)

  19. I’m sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo excited!I read all your books.Hope you keep writing.

  20. Thank you so much!!! I just ordered it.

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