Most people have bad days on occasion.
Then there's the family of Alexander Cooper, the character from the upcoming film “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day,” based on the children's book of the same name written by Judith Viorst and illustrated by Ray Cruz.
Alexander's family experiences a day marred with sickness, job interviews that don’t go well, girlfriend and driver’s test problems, job stress and eating a green permanent marker.
While the Disney film, which premieres Friday, is based on the classic book, filmmakers also wanted to move the story forward. According to director Miguel Arteta, screenwriter Rob Lieber wanted to "continue from where the book ended," which involves Alexander's family in the misfortune.
“So, in the book (Alexander) has one bad day, and (Lieber) said, ‘What if at the end of that day, he wished the family had a bad day and then it came true?’ ” Arteta said in an interview with the Deseret News. "It was a really clever way to sort of expand on that rather than just saying, ‘We’re just going to do the story of the book.’ ”
“It’s different,” Ed Oxenbould, who plays Alexander in the film, said in an interview with the Deseret News. “It’s a film that the whole family can enjoy … and hopefully it starts a new trend of films like this … going back to using real-life humans and seeing them have fun.”
"Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” stars Steve Carell as Ben Cooper, a father with eternal optimism, and Jennifer Garner as Kelly Cooper, a mother who is trying to balance work and family life. Their children — aside from Alexander — seem to have everything going for them one day. The next day, everything goes wrong for them.
According to Arteta, Carell and Garner were able to bring some parental perspective to the movie. Carell is a father of two while Garner is a mother of three.
“Steve and Jen are both parents, and they wanted to get the mayhem that being a parent is like,” Arteta said. “The circumstances could get outrageously … funny, but as long as the feeling of how raising a family is almost just messy all the time, if we can get that right, it will feel honest, and they brought a lot from their own experiences.”
While the film showcases how hard some days can be, it also highlights the fact that it is always easier to deal with misfortune when family is there.
“I hope that everybody recognizes a little bit of their family in this … and that they have that awesome, warm feeling that you get when things don’t go well and your family is around you and you remember how lucky you are,” Arteta said.
Oxenbould, 12, hopes the movie will appeal to all members of the family and that they all can have "a good laugh" and "walk out with a sense of, first off, family matters, and second off, my day isn’t that bad."
Ben Tullis is a Deseret News intern and a freelance writer. He graduated from Utah Valley University in August 2014 with a bachelor's degree in English. He lives in Pleasant Grove with his wife and 3-year-old son. Follow him on Twitter at bentullis.