Breaking Book News: New Harriet the Spy Movie

October 7th, 2009 by

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

In Louise Fitzhugh’s beloved book Harriet the Spy, the main character doesn’t hesitate to write down all her observations in a secret journal — no matter how mean or nasty. From her best friends to the neighbors, nobody escapes Harriet’s critical eye. So you can imagine the uproar at school when Harriet’s classmates discover the notebook. Let’s just say, they are NOT happy.

And neither am I. Not because someone’s been jotting down notes about how pathetic I am — at least, not that I know of! No, I’m displeased because I just heard that the Disney Channel is planning a TV movie based on Harriet the Spy, to air in 2010.

Now, you’d think that I’d be excited about that — and I was at first. But then I learned that they’re planning what they describe as a “contemporary interpretation.” And I’m all for updating the story for the 21st century (the original was written in 1964). But this new version sounds totally different from the book. Check out this description from the press release:

High schooler HARRIET “THE SPY” WELSCH is determined to become her class blogger. Competing against her nemesis — the very popular Marion Hawthorne — Harriet sets out to do whatever it takes for the honor. So when Harriet’s father, movie producer Roger Welsch signs a deal to make a sequel to the smash hit teen-musical, SPY HIGH, Harriet senses her perfect opportunity. Harriet, despite her disdain for him, decides to blog about Skander Hill, the movie’s popular teen heart-throb with hilariously catastrophic results!

Say what?! That doesn’t resemble the book at all! Well, her name is the same anyway…

Here’s the thing: I loooooooove Disney Channel original movies. And I’m not just talking the super popular High School Musical. I mean, I’ve watched Stuck in the Suburbs and Eddie’s Million Dollar Cook-Off several times each, so you know I’m serious. And this movie sounds like exactly the kind of thing I’d enjoy if it were just some totally new film. But when you say it’s based on Harriet the Spy, then I expect it to be, you know, actually based on the book.

Of course, this is a really short summary of the movie, so maybe I’m totally off base and it’s going to be much closer to the original than I imagine. Or, even if not, maybe it will still be awesome (I mean, seriously, a spy musical — what could be better?). I guess it’s too early to tell… You’ll just have to check back sometime in 2010 for my review!

Btw, I’m sure you all know that there was already a film adaptation of Harriet the Spy released in 1996, starring Michelle Trachtenberg as Harriet. I never did watch that version, but it seems like it’s more faithful to the book. Anyone out there seen it? Leave me a comment!

— Karen

4 Responses

  • Monica (of educating alice writes:
    October 7th, 2009 at 5:46 am

    Saw the earlier one and was not impressed.

  • Anne (of LibrariAnne) writes:
    October 7th, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    The earlier version was fairly faithful to the book. It was goofier and more light-hearted in tone, but there were scenes plucked right from the original.

  • Karen from Kidsmomo writes:
    October 9th, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    Thanks for the info, Monica and Anne! Maybe I’ll check it out before the new Disney version so that I can compare.

  • Lola writes:
    December 14th, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    You need to know that this script was written by the extremely talented writer Heather Conkie and her daughter. Ms. Conkie is an award winning writer and many of you will remember the excellent Classical Kids collection where she wrote “Beethoven Lives Upstairs” and I believe “Rossini’s Ghost” to name a couple. They are loved by all…critics too.

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