Paramount Pictures upcoming movie, Clifford The Big Red Dog is set to make its debut. Clifford The Red Big Dog is the adventurous story of owner, Emily Elizabeth and her lovable dog named Clifford. The series was created by Norman Bridwell and has been a staple for book publisher Scholastic since it was first created in 1963. Since Clifford was published, it has expanded internationally and even had an animated series since 2000.
The Knockturnal had the chance to visit the set taping where we got to see a thrilling action scene and talk to the director, Walt Becker who told us what we were seeing on set. Becker is best known for directing fan-favorite Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Road Chip, Old Dogs, and many other productions. While on set, Walt explained, “We just had a giant car chase with Emily riding on Clifford’s back from the car chase and then he ends up in the park to go see Mr. Bridwell who’s this sort of magically Willy Wonka sorta character as her last hope. All the neighbors that have been helping Clifford and everything are all arriving, her mom’s arriving, and it’s the final confrontation between the police and our bad guy in the movie”. While on set, you could feel the tension and high emotions from the story.
The Knockturnal also had the opportunity to interview producers Jordan Kerner and Iole Lucchese:
The Knockturnal/(NBC): When did your involvement with this project begin?
Jordan Kerner: My involvement started a year ago and it was property as a producer that I always wanted to produce and tried myself about 15 years ago with a different executive at Scholastic right around the time we got the rights to Charlotte’s Web. It just wasn’t available at that point I just couldn’t do it and then when the studio called and said we’re having an issue we’d love for you to come in and work on the script and do that. I came in and took that process and over about eight weeks later we had a green light so it was a fantastic, very short period of time that we had to do that. It was so much fun and such an endearing property that needed to capture an adult audience with it because they grew up on it. As well as the kid audience because they see it now in the books and there’s a new television series coming out with Scholastic.
Iole Lucchese: As Jordan said we’re taking Clifford back to preschool audiences on PBS and Amazon Prime starting in December. He’s a hugely beloved brand with 100s of millions of books and fans really across the world and I’m absolutely thrilled to get to that next level. This is exciting because Clifford comes and its really to life.
(NBC:) The cast is very diverse in terms of storylines in compared to the books, do you know how many languages, how many translations markets are looking at outside of English?
(Jordan Kerner:) Usually about 35 films like this especially for what we like to call a fourth-quadrant audience, all ages. I always like to think we make films for ourselves. I have three children but its still appropriate for them as opposed to make it for them and I’m not gonna like it a lot its an opposite way of thinking when you’re developing.
The Knockturnal: How has this process been for you so far?
Jordan Kerner: Well aside from gale forced winds, two inches of rain, and a couple of hours and you see there are a couple of new tents here there are about five we got blown down and everything was blown up at a certain level in this location. We had a whole bunch of weather issues here but the process itself… We have an amazing crew; we have as you mentioned a great cast in this and for Walt and I was not on any level ever giving up in terms of how can we play someone who is both funny, real and interesting in each of the roles. One of you mentioned the diverse cast and that was a big intention for it to reflect the world, it reflects our nation. If you look around you see love, life, liberty and culture, you see many cultures depicted even in those four signs. There’s a real underlining message that goes on in this move about not just accepting but loving those who are different because they make your family and the world even stronger.
The Knockturnal: Last question for me, does this film help you connect with your younger self?
Jordan Kerner: That’s a really good question, I’ve done this for many years and I’ve never had that question so thank you. Here’s the thing with developing screenplays and working with writers and rewriting, at times I have to connect with my younger self all of the time. I have to think about the silliness that might make me laugh in a moment but it might have a twist with a double entendre that makes an adult in the audience go, “Ha! Oh, I see! ” They’ll have two different meanings all together in that so I constantly am in touch, again with three girls, I’m in touch with their younger selves; they make me come out in that way but I think that’s the central core for all of us of creativity and that is finding that little voice inside that smiles and laughs and loves to be tickled. It’s that person that really helps you be able to place the kinds of feelings, laughter, and acceptance of ideas that work for all ages.
Clifford The Big Red Dog is truly a classic and we can’t wait to see it in theaters on Sept. 17, 2021.
1) Clifford is on a bloodhound dog
2) Bridwell originally wanted to call Clifford “Tiny” but Bridwell’s wife Persuaded him to name him Clifford based off of her imaginary friend