Clifford the Big Red Dog first found his home at Scholastic in 1963. His now-famous creator, Norman Bridwell had been rejected by nearly a dozen other children’s publishers. Beatrice de Regniers, then the editor of Scholastic’s Lucky Book Club, took one look at Bridwell’s black-and-white drawings of Clifford and said, “The kids are going to love this!”
What made de Regniers so sure that Clifford would win over young hearts? “That’s how kids feel,” she said. “They feel like, ‘I don’t belong here. I’m somebody odd in the crowd.’”
Since then, more than 160 Clifford titles have made their way into print. The books have been translated into more than 20 languages and sold more than 134 million copies. Along the way, TV series and video games have been created about the lovable character.
Now, Clifford is hitting the big screen in Clifford the Big Red Dog, a new movie from Paramount Pictures. The film, which is also available for streaming on Paramount+, is directed by Walt Becker and produced by Jordan Kerner and Iole Lucchese, who is Chief Strategy Officer at Scholastic and President of Scholastic Entertainment. Caitlin Friedman, SVP and General Manager of Scholastic Entertainment, serves as Executive Producer.
In the new film, Darby Camp stars as Emily Elizabeth, the little girl whose puppy magically grows to be 10 feet tall. She and her Uncle Casey, played by Jack Whitehall, must cope with Clifford’s somewhat unmanageable size in a New York City apartment.
The film also features John Cleese, as animal trainer Mr. Bridwell; Izaac Wang as Emily Elizabeth’s steadfast friend, Owen; and Tony Hale as Zack Tieran, the scheming villain of tech giant LyfeGrow. Kenan Thompson turns in a hilarious performance as Clifford’s baffled—and intimidated—veterinarian.
In this episode, Kerner talks with podcast host Suzanne McCabe about his role producing the movie. He explains the hopeful message that everyone’s favorite big red dog offers this holiday season and gives a behind-the-scenes look at filming in New York City, where the CGI-animated Clifford was represented by two talented puppeteers. Kerner has served as a producer on dozens of films for television and the big screen, including The Mighty Ducks, George of the Jungle, Charlotte’s Web, and The Smurfs. He is a former Dean of the School of Filmmaking at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.
Producer: Bridget Benjamin
Associate producer: Constance Gibbs
Sound engineer: Daniel Jordan
Music composer: Lucas Elliot Eberl
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