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Quite a Tangled ‘Web’

December 9th, 2006 by Paul Martin

Shooting Charlotte’s classic tale proved anything but pastoral. The story is deceptively simple. A runty piglet, a stubborn little girl, some barn animals and a brilliant spider literally spell out a lesson in love and sacrifice. Yet heaven and earth and a million leaves would be moved in the process of turning E.B. White’s beloved “Charlotte’s Web” into a live-action movie.

It may not be the biggest film that Jordan Kerner has produced (the long list includes “Fried Green Tomatoes” and “George of the Jungle”). “But it’s certainly one of the most complicated,” he said, sitting in a tricked-out trailer. “We involved every no-no in the movie business,” Kerner said. “We’re working with children, live animals, animatronic animals and visual effects ? ooh, and I forgot, movie stars.”

Indeed, compared with some of the animals (the pig count alone hit 70), the movie’s actors were a breeze. And speaking of breezes, well, they made quite an appearance as well ? but we’ll get to that.

In this big movie about a little pig, which opens Dec. 20, Julia Roberts provides the voice of Charlotte, the spider. Oprah Winfrey, Robert Redford, John Cleese, Thomas Haden Church, Reba McEntire, Kathy Bates, Steve Buscemi, Cedric the Entertainer and Andr? Benjamin (a.k.a. Andr? 3000) lend their voices to other characters in the movie, which uses real and animatronic animals. The book had previously been filmed as an animated feature in 1973.

[Read the rest at Calendar Live]