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13 September 2008 ·

Did I like the Nim’s island film?

I keep being asked if I liked the Nim’s Island film, and so even though I thought I’d expressed my excitement about it all, I thought it was time to say:

I loved the film. The first time I saw it I was too excited and tense about whether or not I’d like it, to even be able to follow it properly, but I still felt that I liked it, and that it worked. I’ve now seen it 8 times, and it was only the last time that I didn’t cry when Nim did.

Are there things I would have done differently? A couple of small details – but I notice that audiences love them. The author isn’t always the best person to decide on what works in a film!

And are there changes I liked? Alex’s journey to the island, with the helicopter and cruise ship before the small boat,works much better on film. The book’s version of her being let off off the cruise ship on her sailing dinghy, would have been quite anti-climactic.

And the one I wish I’d thought of? The zip line! It’s so useful, so organic to the island – and so much something that Jack would have invented.

As readers know, in the book, we don’t see Alexandra Rover talking to her hero. But it makes absolute sense to me – it’s what writers do. We’re the kids who never lost our imaginary friends when we grew up.

Most importantly, the total effect is what matters. To me, the plot changes seem slight, because they’re logical. What I see is my story brought to life; the characters as I’ve imagined them, and the essence that I was searching for when I began to write this book.


  1. Dina I'm glad you liked the film. You hear so many stories of authors being unhappy with the movies.
    September 14, 2008 at 9:09 am · Reply
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Wendy Orr is a Canadian-born Australian writer. Her books for children and adults have been published in 27 countries and won awards around the world. Nim’s Island and Nim at Sea have also become feature films, starring Jodie Foster and Abigail Breslin (Nim’s Island) and Bindi Irwin (Return to Nim’s Island.) Her latest book is Cuckoo’s Flight, a companion to the highly acclaimed Bronze Age novels Dragonfly Song and Swallow’s Dance. Read full bio