Bridge to Terabithia
Bridge to Terabithia is a children’s story of friendship between Jess (Josh Hutcherson) and Leslie (AnnaSophia Robb), two middle schoolers who find an escape from harsh realities in their imagined fantasy world. Forgive me, but Leslie is what we call a keeper. She’s got good ideas for dealing with problems, she welcomes you into her world and she’s just cool. That sounds like the imagined fantasy to me, and the movie suggests that this catch would be a social outcast.
Interview: AnnaSophia Robb on Bridge to Terabithia
“I personally think that people who are different, kids get a little bit intimidated and scared of them because they don't know how to interpret them, or how to react to them,” Robb explained. “So I think kids can be scared of people who are different from them. And also, Leslie, she's a fun person, and I think a lot of people were jealous of her. I know Madison, the character in school, the little goody two-shoes, she's jealous of her, so that's why she's mean to Leslie, who just wants to be nice to everyone and be accepted.”
Jess and Leslie befriend the school bully, Janice Avery, which informs a universal lesson about aggressors of any age. “What Jess and Leslie found out with Janice Avery is that she was going through some troubles at home. Some personal things, which doesn't make it acceptable to be mean to someone just because you're going through personal issues. It just means that the person getting bullied should try to be kind to them, or try to be understanding, or just turn the other cheek, because you can't change anyone, but you can change yourself.”
See, try meeting a girl that smart in a bar, or online. But these are kids, so of course there are still some cootie issues. The kids still worry about cooties, right? Anyway, the characters’ introduction has Leslie beat Jess in a foot race. The actor had a mild ego problem letting the scene go as scripted.
“He's a boy, so he's extremely competitive. What can you say? All the boys there. We, at the beginning, were trying to work out the timing, and Josh says he was just trying to work out the timing. But really, he wanted to show everyone that he was faster than the car that was driving, you know, trying to film. That's really what he was trying to prove. But we finally got it worked out. And I was tired by the end of it. I mean, just running back and forth, back and forth, doing all these different things. And at lunch, he goes, ‘Let's race!’ I was like, ‘Okay. Fine, Josh, we'll race. Fine. Whatever you want.’ So we say go, and I take off, but then I stopped, and I walk back. I'm just feeling comfortable, because I'm all tired. And he gets to the end, and he's all excited, and he turns around, and he's like, ‘Yes! I won! I won! I won!’ He turns around, and he's like looking for me, and then he realized it was a hoax. And his face was so disappointed I actually felt kind of guilty. I was like, ‘Jeez. Wow, he takes it really serious.’ But he's definitely a fast runner.”
When the film ultimately visualizes the kids’ fantasy realm, the actors had to actually imagine the world that would be created later in CGI. “It was a challenge, but it was a good challenge. It was fun. I think just reacting to tennis balls and a man who had a blue suit on, it was hard for me, but I had seen paintings of all these mythical Terabithian creatures. So I really tried to visualize them when I was acting in the scene so I could act like they were attacking me and feel like if the thing was this big, or this big, I would vary how much I would, I guess, react.”
Bridge to Terabithia comes to theatres on February 16th.
For the trailer, poster, stills, synopsis and more movie info, go to the Bridge of Terabithia
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