weeks of shooting, so that filmmakers would be finished at that location when teachers returned the second week in August to prep for their school year.
The school schedules of the principal cast made the shooting schedule particularly tight. “Logistically, we were against a ticking clock with the start of school. We wanted to finish in time for the principal actors to start in their own schools,” adds producr Philip Steuer. “We were able to schedule around most of the kids school starts, which was the blessing of hiring kids from other states, they all went back to school at different times. That actually was a bonus for us.”
“The film is set in contemporary times but I think we all felt it had the ability to be a period movie,” comments Steuer. “We certainly wanted it to have a period feel without being a period movie…not really knowing when or where you were, more of timeless period than a specific period. The kids are all on bikes and there’s not a lot of technology, but the idea was to have timeless sense to it.”
“The book was written in the 1970s and has a pre-computer innocence about it. It depicts a world that feels almost forgotten,” comments director Bob Dolman. “We’ve intended to present a world of boys as perhaps it ought to be. We wanted to quiet their world, so that their only real concern is ‘gee it's hard moving into a new place, trying to fit in, getting picked on.’ In a way, the theme of the movie could be that children of that age should have problems no bigger than ‘I have to eat a worm.’”
Production designer Caty Maxey and costume designer Kathleen Kiatta were charged with creating this any-town, timeless feel. “Bob’s marching orders were to keep it simple,” states Steuer. “All the clothes are contemporary and we didn’t build any elaborate sets.”
“Bob’s priority was the boys’ comfort,” says Kiatta. “For the most part I was given free rein, but he really wanted me to hone in on the boys as individuals and try to make them all different. Once I got to spend a little time with them, they each brought something very special to the table. I got to be most creative with Twitch's costumes – the artwork on his pajamas and some of his t-shirts was all drawn on by hand.”