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16 June 2012 ·

Book to Film: the journey continues with Nim at Sea

US edition

Nim at Sea, the sequel to Nim’s Island, was published exactly five years ago. I dedicated it to Paula Mazur – not because she was the producer of the Nim’s island film, or even because of the strong friendship that had grown  during the four years since she first contacted me about the film rights for Nim’s Island, but because of her belief in Nim. From our first conversations, back in July 2003, I knew that she understood and cared about Nim just as deeply as I did.

Australian edition

With wonderful serendipity, the Nim’s Island film went into preproduction, at the Warner Roadshow Studios on the Gold Coast, just as Nim at Sea was published, and Paula and I were both very excited that she was going to be able to launch it for me, at Riverbend Books in Brisbane. (In the end she was stuck out at sea on the evening of the launch, but that’s another story.)

on location in the rain forest, for Nim’s Island 

A couple of months later, we were on location watching Nim (Abigail Breslin) run down a mountain with her lizard Fred on her shoulder. Over and over, as Fred kept crawling around her neck to her left shoulder – which was in the sun – and the camera needed him to be on the right shoulder so Abbie could speak to him.

Rainforest for Nim’s Island

Even the imperfect takes were wonderful: they were all so essentially Nim. Paula and I looked at each other and could not stop grinning. All those years of planning – and now it was real. “Now we’ve got to start planning Nim at Sea!” Paula said.

And this week, the production office opened. The film based on Nim at Sea is in official preproduction, with Bindi Irwin to star as Nim. The film will be called Nim’s Island II: Return of the Pirates.

The adventure continues… and not just for Nim!

UK edition

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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