STUART LITTLE 2 (2002)
What happened with Stuart Little 2 was that I wanted to write a movie about soaring. That’s the way I put it. Stuart wants to learn how to fly and, in the end, he learns how to soar. The difference is that flying is effortful activity, while soaring is no effort at all. Soaring is being supported by the universe. The story was about learning to trust the air underneath him to support him; trusting that he can glide, trusting that he can move freely. That was my big concept.
Doug [Wick] and Lucy [Fisher], who were the producers, scratched that idea. They threw it out immediately. But it’s part of how I sold them on doing it. I gave them the idea, they bought it, and then within a short amount of time it was just thrown out, which is not uncommon in Hollywood. No movie I have ever done has not suffered from some sort of extraction of the core idea.
Still, I’m pretty happy with the film. For children, I think it’s fairly uplifting and fairly empowering. Stuart really does make his way in a world that is at odds with him on so many levels. He feels so small and so insignificant, and yet he makes himself significant. He does it partly through love, and partly through a kind of unwillingness to accept the limitations that are placed upon him by being three inches tall and being a mouse. I was very taken by that. I love E.B. White, and I just thought, Here’s a chance to empower children in a certain way.
I felt that, even though my ideas didn’t get written into the film, there was an underlying nobility of purpose. Children often think, “I am too small to make a difference. I have to wait until I grow up.” This film says, “You are already a whole person. You may not be able to do everything that an adult can do, but you can do what you can do.” I felt like that was a wonderful message.