Original 'Ramona' Sarah Polley hopes revamped character isn't 'too cute'
In the late '80s, almost every young girl saw a bit of themselves in Ramona Quimby -- the precocious redhead at the center of a popular television show whose curiosity always seemed to land her in hot water.
On the PBS program "Ramona," the bright-but-annoying 8-year-old was played by none other than a young Sarah Polley, who brought the character from the bestselling 1950s book series by Beverly Cleary to life, long before she became known as an indie actress/auteur for films such as "The Sweet Hereafter" and "Away from Her."
This summer, Fox is revamping the popular story yet again with "Ramona and Beezus," starring adorable newcomer Joey King and Disney tween queen Selena Gomez. The cuter take on a traditionally more pesty Ramona has already irked some bloggers and critics.
Take this scathing assessment on the female-centric blog Jezebel:
"'I hope you guys like it!' Selena Gomez says of her new 'Ramona and Beezus' trailer. No. We don't. Maybe because BEEZUS IS A SEX KITTEN AND RAMONA IS A PINT-SIZED MANIC-PIXIE DREAM GIRL."
Last weekend we interviewed Polley -- who was in town promoting her new film "Splice" -- and asked her what she thought about the fresh take on Ramona. Though she said she hasn't seen the film and will "reserve judgment" until she does, she said she hopes the new film won't mess with the essence of Cleary's character.
"The one thing that I think would be a drag is if she's too cute a character and too sweet," Polley said. "That was what was great about Ramona. She wasn't a cute, perky little kid with perfect teeth. She was a little bit of an oddball. And when I read those books when I was 7 or 8 and felt not so pretty and not so popular and a little bit -- you know, feisty -- I felt like that book recognized me and spoke to me and made me feel less isolated. The books will always continue to do that for kids. I hope the movie does the same thing."
-- Amy Kaufman (Twitter.com/AmyKinLA)
Photos: Sarah Polley, above, as a young Ramona and, right, now at 31.
Credit: PBS, Ringo H.W. Chiu / For the Times.
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