Debra Granik Developing Treatment for PIPPI LONGSTOCKING

     January 10, 2011


Way back in 2010, Debra Granik teased out one of the most powerful performances for a female lead in recent cinematic history via Jennifer Lawrence in Winter’s Bone. Now it seems that she has set her sights even higher in attempting to bring “the strongest human being in the world” back to the big screen. In a recent interview, Granik divulged that she and producer/co-writer Anne Rosellini are developing a treatment for Pippi Longstocking.

To see what Granik had to say about the project, and for some background on the titular character, hit the jump.

debra-granik-image(2)In talking with the LA Times, Granik appeared to have a personal stake in showcasing another strong female role model:

“As a kid, I got really envious of men’s coming of age in movies. Their knowledge of darkness would grow, their compassion would grow, whatever it was, it felt like they would gain something, and the female coming of age often was punitive, like an unwanted pregnancy. We’re all like, ‘Oh God, I’m so glad I’m not her.’”

In addition to her discouragement with female coming of age stories, Granik also discussed what she believes to be a positive consequence of more films showcasing strong female protagonists:

“People are finding these heroines charismatic, unexpected and fresh. What a person in the business can get from that is, ‘Hey, a young female protagonist doesn’t need to have a boyfriend, get pregnant, cut herself or be naked to attract an audience.’”

As for Pippi Longstocking, the character was the namesake of a series of children’s books by Swedish author Astrid Lindgren. The Adventures of Pippi Longstocking have been translated into 64 different languages and adapted into multiple movies and television shows. The plot summary for the 1969 film goes something like this [via IMDb]:


Pippi Longstocking, a child of incredible strength, moves by herself to a Swedish town with her monkey, horse, and a bag full of gold coins. She befriends two children, Annika and Tommy, shocks the adults of the town, defends herself from bandits, and has a reunion with her seafaring father.

Often credited with being the original tom-boy, Pippi Longstocking will look to draw in an audience based on a beloved storyline and a strong central heroine (literally, I mean she lifts her horse up with one hand!). That said, if recent box office totals and award nods are any indication (i.e. True Grit), there is definitely room in theaters for well-executed stories that feature women who help save the day.


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  • Ron

    I watched Pippi Longstocking, last year, with a couple of children. I listened to “Robot Baby,” by Heather O’Neill, with the same kids. The boy, almost five, absconded with my copy of “Lullabies For Little Criminals,” and pretty much demolished it in bed, at night, trying to decipher words which he knew I loved, but he could not read. Baby is a young woman I would love to see on the screen, so more young women, and young men, might have a chance. I am not sure Pippi can offer them that at this time.

    Of course, Tassie, a fascinating young woman described by Lorrie Moore in “A Gate At The Stairs,” makes a killer chocolate milk. Were I not married, I would be happy to raise the cup with her. And suggest, to whoever might be listening, that Tassie has a story worth telling. In Daniel Woodrell’s “Winter’s Bone,” we learn “Trees lined the drive and many birds sang from the limbs but their songs were not the same.” Tassie begins her story with the sentence, “The cold came late that fall and the songbirds were caught off guard.” You can imagine what happens to those poor songbirds. But, unless you read both books, you would not be aware of the striking difference in appearance women make. I am actually surprised that “Winter’s Bone” retained as much beautiful dialogue from the book as it did, and yet gave us a Ree Dolly who would feel at home in “A Gate At The Stairs.”

    Since Ms. Granik and Ms. Rosellini appear to imagine one might avoid the hard work of crafting females from the earth’s clay, I suppose another will need to take up the task. I am grateful they achieved as much as they did. Their work with Jennifer Lawrence was astonishing. And, as an old Minnesota boy who had kin serve hard time for cooking meth, I can say John Hawkes, as Teardrop, hit it dead on.

    Ree Dolly did not favor “The Sounds of Tranquil Streams,” for ear candy, as Daniel Woodrell claimed. “Love The Way You Lie ,” sings Ariana Grande , in response. I think Ree listened to “S & M,” by my girl, Rihanna “Robyn” Fenty, not only when she was working up a sweat, but when she was trying to get to sleep.

    Joy to you, Rose.