Wonderstruck Q&A w/Brian Selznick & Millicent Simmonds
On Saturday, after taking a small pilgrimage to the Queens Museum to see the panorama of New York City that features so prominently in the exquisite Wonderstruck, we attended an early evening showing of the new Wonderstruck film adaptation at the Angelika Film Center. To our delight, they announced that there would be a Q&A after the showing. We had no idea that the film’s star, Millicent Simmonds (remember that name, people) and Brian Selznick, the author of Wonderstruck, themselves would be there.
The book – and now the exceptionally beautiful film – have played prominently in our family’s life. Five years ago, my daughter, Alannah, wrote a letter to her favorite author as part of a school project. The book was Wonderstruck and the letter ended up becoming an honorable mention in a Washington State writer’s competition. Alannah traveled to the capitol, met the state’s First Lady, and took home a lovely award. More importantly, Alannah loved this book so much that we used to find her in her bed asleep with it.
I’ve personally written about this book and our trip to the Museum of Natural History to find the wolf diorama featured in it. One of my takeaways has been that too often when people ask us later in life what our favorite books are we say “To the Lighthouse” when we should say “Wonderstruck.” Some books plant themselves in your heart forever. Such is this one, and I suspect the film will be the same for many, many more.
See it and weep.
Melanie and I spent Saturday night frantically looking for the text of her letter which we couldn’t seem to find, but late Monday night Melanie found a video of Alannah reading it at school. I will transcribe the text, and this little message in a bottle will at last make its way to Brian Selznick!
The universe is operating as designed.
The video above gives a feeling for the film’s lovely star, Millicent Simmonds and the generosity of the book and the film’s writer, Brian Selznick. In the Q&A, I share the story of Alannah’s letter at 14:34 along with an arm-tingling story about a quote from the film. As with all things wonderstruck, there is too much to put into words here or anywhere.
Please share your experience of the film below when you have a chance to see it. It opens nationwide very soon.