Home Alone meets Big Fat Liar in the “fun, whimsical, and absolutely enjoyable”* How to Beat a Bully, on DVD April 5 from Indie Rights.
The new kid in town is forced to protect himself from schoolyard tyrants with a big fat lie – that his father is a hit man for the mob – in director Douglas Bilitch’s raucously entertaining comedy for all ages.
Writer Marilyn Anderson said in a recent interview that the aforesaid Home Alone – the hit family comedy from John Hughes, starring Macaulay Culkin – was actually the launchpad for How to Beat a Bully.
“[Richard Rossner and I] first wrote it after “Home Alone” came out in 1990. Our screenplay was optioned by various Hollywood producers, year after year. After writing it, we had so much interest and a ton of meetings all over town that our agent thought there was going to be a bidding war with a quick sale. Unfortunately, several other family films came out after “Home Alone” that ended up being flops. So all of a sudden, the studios no longer wanted to do films in that genre. Yet, our screenplay kept getting attention and even won two big screenwriting contests. Every few months, producers would call and say, “Whatever happened to my favorite script? Is it still available?” When the option would expire, someone new would option it for 6 months or a year, promising to get it produced… and nothing would happen. After optioning it 8 times with 8 different companies, I finally decided “no more options.” That’s when things started rolling! I found an investor who loved the project and put up funding for it. Then I teamed up with Dream Factory Entertainment who brought in another investor. Within 6 months, we were cast and in production. Now the film is out – and it’s very gratifying after all this time.”
“Cleverly written” (IMDB) by Anderson and Richard Rossner, How to Beat a Bully has received the Dove Foundation Seal of Approval for families.
“We see this as a family film for kids from 8-years-old to about 14,” Rossner said in a recent interview. “But we wrote it with enough smart humor that adults stay interested and want to watch with their children… which is happening! Our hope is that an entertaining comedy can possibly open an important dialogue for parents and kids on the topic of bullying – and that is happening, too.”
“The film is recommended family-friendly viewing from the Dove Foundation for ages 12 and up, but it definitely appeals to younger kids and adults as well,” adds Anderson. “We’ve also found that Baby Boomers like it, particularly as a film to watch with their grandkids. Interestingly, there are characters in the film from 8 to 80-years-old, so we think it can appeal to them all. So many stories of bullying are sad or distressing, we wanted to create a film that could provide fun and laughs for all ages, yet still promote the message to stop bullying. Plus, the film delves into other issues that families may face, like the father losing his job and moving to a new town, the mom having to set up a new house and take care of her family, and the young son having to go to a new school, make new friends and face bullies. We feel it reflects lots of positive family values, but does it in a fun and funny way.”
Grant McLellan, Eric Lauritzen, Elise Angell, Pearce Joza, Micah Lyons and Vince DonVito partake in a side-splitting tale of comeuppance, How to Beat a Bully available on DVD at Walmart April 5.
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