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Local Author’s Book Becomes a Movie

Cameras and film crews will be stationed in the Forsyth area for the next few months to film a movie based on a book set in the Ozarks. KSMU’s Kristian Kriner reports.

West Plains resident, Daniel Woodrell is the author of “Winter’s Bone.”

Next month, he’ll see his latest book come to life.

Woodrell, who was born and raised in Missouri, says “Winter’s Bone” is the story of a young girl in the Ozarks trying to find her father.

“It’s about a 16 year-old girl who lives in poverty, but she has many family members who are in to Meth trade and other things like that. Her mother is no longer able to be helpful around the house and her father is generally gone. So she’s stuck at 16 with taking care of her little brothers and finds out that her father has put the house up to go as bail and nobody can find him to show up in court, so that becomes her quest,” Woodrell said.

He says the director, Debra Granik, wanted to make the book into a movie before the book was even published.

He says his idea for “Winter’s Bone” came from a trip to the grocery store.

“I was in the grocery store and there was a woman with two little kids hanging off her and when she turned around I saw her face and I saw that she was young. And that just got me starting to think about being that young and having the responsibility of two kids already and it just developed into this story,” Woodrell said.

“Winter’s Bone” will be Woodrell’s second book converted into a movie.

The author’s second novel “Woe to Live On” was made into a movie called “Ride With the Devil” directed by Ang Lee and starring Tobey Maguire.

Woodrell says because the characters are so rough in the book, he was worried people in the Ozarks would be offended.

“Over and over and over I had people in Springfield and elsewhere come up to me and instead of saying they were put off by the roughness of these lives I described, every one of them told me ‘I know some people just like that right around the corner’ or ‘right down the hill’ or something. Because it’s really a story about an indomitable spirit, I think there will be a lot to feel good about and identify with,” Woodrell said.

Woodrell says the director and producer are casting actors from the Ozarks for the movie right now.

He says there are several things he hopes movie-goers get out of “Winter’s Bone.”

“I think that decency can survive in the roughest of circumstances. Sometimes resolve and determination are rewarded and you need to bear that in mind in life. The protagonist, Ree Dolly, she’s just got a lot of burdens imposed on her, but she finds out that she can meet the challenges. She wasn’t sure she could, but she finds out that she can and that’s always an important thing to know,” Woodrell said.

“Winter’s Bone” was published in 2006 by Little, Brown and Company in New York.

Woodrell says filming will begin in mid-February and last only a month.

For KSMU News, I’m Kristian Kriner.