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All About Them "Oskies..."
08 Jan 2003    

By BCDavis
(JCO Editor-In-Chief)


I told you I would find out more about this forgotten project. What film? "Children of the Dust Bowl." Got your interest? Welp, it hasn't been forgotten or shelved or is in limbo. Here's the goodies so far:

Charlie Mitchell was chosen to pen the script adaptation of the book "Children of the Dust Bowl." The final script was delivered not too long ago, September of 2002. Miramax is the studio behind the project, Jim Carrey, who stars as Leo Hart, will also produce. However, no other information is available at this time because all eyes are focused on shooting "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" (starting this month).

We're not done yet folks. You need some background info as to what this film's gonna be about and who exactly "Leo Hart" is.

This is a true story that took place at the emergency farm-labor camp used as the subject of Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath." Children of migrant workers from Oklahoma were ostracized and had no school, until Superintendent Leo Hart (the part said to be played by Jim Carrey) and 50 of the children decided to build their own school in a field close by. Controversy began with Steinbeck's "The Grapes of Wrath" (which was in turn being banned) while Leo Hart helped 'Oskies' build their school. The book describes the conditions that turned the Panhandle into a dust bowl, the workers traveling west to survive while receiving a hostile reaction by agricultural communities, their children receiving extreme prejudice in schools not wanting them, and the hard work that Leo Hart did to educate the children in farm labor camps. The film being proposed would be based on this book, a historical drama. The book is written primarily for children junior high through high school, and has been widely used in schools for educational purposes. The book's full title is "Children of the Dust Bowl: The True Story of the School at Weedpatch Camp" by author Jerry Stanley.

And finally, a little fun homework for ya, kiddies: The book "The Grapes of Wrath" was turned into a classic film starring Henry Fonda. I also believe it won some Oscars. I remember seeing this film and I recall it's a classic, one you should not miss - especially if you want to understand where "Children of the Dust Bowl" is coming from (be forewarned - it's a heavy film). You can rent it from a video store, purchase it online, or wait until it comes around on AMC again. Assignment #2: read the book "Children of the Dust Bowl." You can purchase it online at a VERY reasonable price. The script will be just an adaptation of it, so, familiarize yourself with Jim Carrey's character, while learning some great American history at the same time. Remember, it's written for kids, so it'll be interesting. And there's lots of pictures. And it's not a long book, either.;-)

CARREY ON!

-- Source: Those Who Know. With thanks to Anne Onimous. Click to comment this article.

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