Three weeks from today, a movie version of Kathryn Lasky‘s bestselling Guardians of Ga’Hoole series—about a brave young owl’s magical journey—will hit theaters. From the looks of the trailer, I think it’ll be quite a show (and it’s in 3D!).
To get you pumped up for the release, BookPage asked Lasky to answer a few questions about her role in the adaptation and impressions of the movie.
What was your reaction when you saw the movie version of Guardians of Ga’Hoole? Is the adaptation faithful to the spirit of your books?
I have not seen the movie in its entirety yet. In July I saw a rough cut and not in 3D and not fully animated. But the ninety minutes of what I saw was honestly the most spectacular ninety minutes of animation I have ever seen in my life! The scenes of flying—and mind you as I said this was not 3D yet—were absolutely breathtaking.
What came across loud and clear was how faithful this adaptation is to the spirit of the books and the characters. For nearly 10 years I have lived with these characters’ voices in my head and now to hear them and hear them voiced by such great actors like Jim Sturgess, Helen Mirren and Sam Neil was overwhelming to me. I started crying.
All I could think was ‘all this stuff in my head for so long and now it’s out there.’ This is strange to say but I almost felt as if I had been away—lonely and away for a long time and I was now back and being welcomed by long lost friends—even the bad guys!
Were you involved at all in the movie’s production?
Oh yes I was involved to a limited extent. I made three trips to Los Angeles to discuss the movie both before the screenwriter and director were hired and then after. The screenwriter, John Orloff, called me throughout the process to consult with me on the screenplay. He was terrific—open to ideas, really probing me on how I viewed certain plot elements, characters, etc. I knew there were changes that would have to be made for a movie is not a book. But I was very comfortable how he and Zack Snyder, the director, handled these changes.
A complete screenplay was sent to me maybe eighteen months ago and I read it and wrote an extensive memo concerning things that I felt needed some adjusting and they really incorporated most of my changes. Zack, John and the producers Lionel Wigram and Donald De Line were very attentive to my suggestions. All of them good listeners.
Why should children read the book before they see the movie?
Of course it’s always wonderful if children read the book before the movie because then they know the story and the characters so well. But on the other hand I am sure there are instances where children might not be aware of a book, or had the interest or opportunity to read it. If they see the film first this might inspire them to go out and read the book and it will open them up to an equally rich and different experience.
In Guardians of Ga’Hoole: The Capture, Soren is inspired by legends about the Guardians of Ga’Hoole. What legends do you personally find inspiring?
Probably and most obviously the Arthurian legends. The Guardians of Ga’Hoole is, I admit, very derivative of this cycle. As a child I read all the Greek myths and loved them but they seemed a bit removed to me compared to the Arthurian tales. I also loved the selkie stories, those tales of the seal folk who were seals in the ocean and became humans on shore. I generally love all shape shifter stories.
You have received many honors over the course of your career, from getting a Newbery Honor for Sugaring Time to seeing your characters transformed by Warner Brothers. Which award, accomplishment or honor are you most proud of?
Oh that’s kind of impossible for me to say. The best reward of all is just knowing that readers are connecting with what I write. An award like that doesn’t need a medal or a gold seal or a movie marquee.
BookPage is giving away two copies of The Capture (Book One in the Guardians of Ga’Hoole series) in the next edition of Reading Corner. To receive our e-newsletter about books for children and teens, sign up here.
Author photo by Christopher G. Knight.