Katherine Paterson Film Adaptations 🎥

Katherine Paterson’s versatile writing skill and ability to wrap historically-rich and compelling stories around her characters make her novels a perfect fit for film adaptations.

Katherine Paterson

American Writer

Along with a few others, Katherine Paterson’s popular novel, ‘Bridge to Terabithia’, has been made into a film and her ideas in the book have had a large influence on the production of other Hollywood films of a similar genre. Let’s take a peek into some of her film adaptations and the influences they’ve had across Hollywood.

The Making of Bridge to Terabithia

Bridge to Terabithia’ is arguably the most populous book written by Katherine Paterson, and the huge success that followed its 1977 release is a strong case in point. Thanks to the book’s interesting storyline and value-packed moral lesson for children, a movie adaptation was arranged – however later – in 2007.

A Poetic Backstory

Bridge to Terabithia’ the novel was originally inspired by the death of David L. Paterson’s childhood friend – who was struck by lighting. The event was indeed a devastating one and felt by the victim’s friends and family.

David’s mother, Katherine Paterson, was greatly touched by this event that she wrote ‘Bridge to Terabithia’ as a tribute to her son and the victim. Thirty years later Paterson’s son, David, was hugely involved in the Hollywood production of ‘Bridge to Terabithia’ – writing the screenplay for it.

The film was co-distributed by Summit Entertainment and featured great actors among whom were Jose Hutcherson and Anna Sophia Robb. The movie follows the story of Jesse, a boy from a poor background, and Leslie, who comes from a wealthy family.

After getting off on a wrong footing from competing against each other in school sports, the two become friends and go in to build a magical ground called Terabithia. In this place, they install some common things that they lack; the freedom to fantasize and become whoever they want.

The film became a huge success amassing nearly 150 million dollars at the box office compared to its budget of 20 million dollars. ‘Bridge to Terabithia’ was aired by Disney in February 2007 and recorded an impressive audience. Reviews were also good as the film received praise for several aspects – including the fact that it stayed true to Katherine Paterson’s original work.

The Great Gilly Hopkins

The film adaptation of Katherine Paterson’s ‘The Great Gilly Hopkins’ was slightly different from ‘Bridge to Terabithia’ because it didn’t go to Hollywood but went to independent films – where both of Paterson’s two sons, David and John, produced the film.

Shot on a Low Budget

The making of ‘The Great Gilly Hopkins’ was based on an indie budget and therefore faced a huge challenge attracting A-list actors needed for the shooting.

Katherine Paterson admitted that she had to send out autographed copies of her books to the actors to plead with them to accept the offer and be involved in the project.

Eventually, they did come on board, not only because of the kind gesture of Paterson but also of the Al fact that the film had a good story that resonated well with them.

Starring and Production Crew

The Great Gilly Hopkins’ attracted several top actors for its compelling story, with the likes of Kathy Bates and Octavia Spencer – both of who are Academy Award winners. The film was directed by a high-profile director, Steven Herek – including a list of other interesting cameos.

The film beat several setbacks and was released in October 2016, and can be considered a market success based on its 5 million dollars budget which racked up nearly 100 million dollars of box office sales.


Is Katherine Paterson’s ‘Bridge to Terabithia’ an interesting film to watch?

Bridge to Terabithia’ the movie is considered very interesting to watch based on its positive reviews and box office sale. It’s also interesting the fact that the film remained true to the original book story written by Katherine Paterson.

How many of Katherine Paterson’s family members appeared in ‘The Great Gilly Hopkins’ film?

Two of Katherine Paterson’s sons – David and John Paterson, and at least two of her grandchildren were hugely involved in the making of the film. David and John played important backstage roles serving as reducers and scriptwriters, while Paterson’s grandchildren started as child characters for different roles.

Who wrote the screenplay for Katherine Paterson’s ‘Bridge to Terabithia’?

Katherine Paterson’s son, David Paterson is credited for writing the screenplay for the film.

Victor Onuorah
About Victor Onuorah
Victor is as much a prolific writer as he is an avid reader. With a degree in Journalism, he goes around scouring literary storehouses and archives; picking up, dusting the dirt off, and leaving clean even the most crooked pieces of literature all with the skill of analysis.
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