ABOUT THE PRODUCTION
Director Bob Dolman first became aware of the classic young adult novel How to Eat Fried Worms when he was approached as a writer to draft a revised screenplay. Since his sons were in their early teen years at the time, he had been drawn to doing a project for children and took on the task. “It seemed like a book that they would want to see as a movie,” explains Dolman. Little did he know at the time that he would be directing the film when his sons were grown.
“When I read the book, I saw all sorts of possibilities in it for a movie,” remembers Dolman. “The book tells a small story about a group of boys who make a bet and the main character, Billy, ends up eating worms over several days. It felt like a movie that would be fun to write, since really the joy of the book is watching them cook and eat the worms in different ways.”
“However, I felt the story needed to be bigger to work as a movie. So I began to think about how to invent situations and characters that could turn the story into a movie,” explains Dolman. “One of the first things that I brought to it was to up the stakes, so to speak, by making the bet take place all in one day. In the book, Billy eats the worms over a 15 day period and that didn't seem to be compelling enough, so I condensed it into eating all 10 worms in one day to give the proceedings some urgency.”
“I wanted the movie to be more sophisticated and be a story for boys and girls of all ages, not just a story for little boys,” adds Dolman. “Another big difference is there just weren't as many characters in the book. I made Joe a bully to increase the conflict in the story and added Erika, the only girl, who is the conscience of the movie. The little brother, Woody, is also an invention. In fact all of the friends were quite different than the ones in the book. I felt like the characters needed to be broader and bigger and a little more adventurous and there had to be a bigger pack of them.”
The project went through multiple drafts and lay dormant for many years while Dolman went on to write other projects and eventually direct his first movie – The Banger Sisters
on which he worked with producer Mark Johnson. “We had a really positive experience
together and when that project was winding up, I asked Bob what he wanted to do