We all have our bad days.
That’s at the heart of Disney’s newest live-action film, but it is anything but for cast and crew of Disney’s “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” because they all were good in each respect of making this film! They were all on hand to explain that further when we joined them for their film’s press conference this past Saturday in Beverly Hills, California.
The newest Disney live-action film did take inspiration from the classic 1970s children’s book by author Judith Viorst, but expounded on the story even more by asking the classic “What if?” questions. “What I felt was unanswered in the book was this [Alexander’s] family…[so I wanted to] explore what would happen if the rest of his family had a terrible day and what they could learn from it,” said screenwriter Rob Lieber. Running with that idea and taking inspiration from past John Hughes’ films (like “16 Candles”) also made the fictional story more relatable and movie-worthy because “everyday life was made the spectacle.”
In order to tell this real-life family story, Disney had to find an ensemble cast of characters that would model a great family and how they’d react to a very bad day. Director Miguel Arteta commented on finding that on-screen family saying “My job was to find and film them falling in love with each other, so I tried to create an environment for these six people to start liking each other. We were very lucky to have done so.”
The film’s Cooper family ended up including some big name actors, as well as some newer faces that blended together to not just show the terribleness of a day, but find the good in it. With Ed Oxenbould who plays Alexander, Arteta said that “We needed someone who had that generosity of heart and be happy for other people. Ed was just the right choice.” The casting of the rest of the family also showed that these bad days could get be conquered with laughter and happiness.
Additionally, the other Cooper family members like Anthony (Dylan Minnette), Emily (Kerris Dorsey), and baby Trevor (twins Zoey and Elise Vargas) had to show that same heart amid chaos throughout the film. The kids’ hearts amid the difficult days on and off-screen were ultimately found in parents Ben and Kelly and the actor and actress who played them. “I had nothing but love for these special, special kids” Steve Carell said in his classic comedic sarcasm voice. “Being able to have both of them [Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner] as parents and being fans of their work meant a lot,” actress Kerris Dorsey said to which Dylan and Ed agreed. “It rubbed off on us and or characters.”
As much as the cast and their respective characters do bring funniness as a remedy for the bad day on-screen, you’ll be surprised that the movie’s message was a lot more serious, personal, and applicable. “This is a film that families can see and at the end of it, you feel like a family. No matter what you go through, you know you’re going through it together,” Jennifer Garner said. That feeling really hit home with Carell who hopes that more relatable, family centered live-action movies have a comeback in this generation.
“These kinds of movies aren’t done as often as they used to and I was excited because it’s a new take on that genre of movie,” Carell stated. “I hope this starts the trend of bringing these hearty family movies back.”
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Do you agree with Steve Carell’s statement? Would you want to see more live-action family films in today’s theaters? Do you think you relate to the Cooper family when going through tough times? What or who are you most excited to see in the film? Comment below!