It’s been an interesting thing to balance,” says director David Siegel of adapting Myla Goldberg’s 2000 novel about a previously unexceptional 9-year-old girl (Flora Cross) who suddenly becomes a spelling prodigy thanks, perhaps, to Jewish mysticism. ”How much is the movie about the spelling bee versus about this kid and her interior life?” Though it may have been tempting to jump on the Spellbound train, the production team found themselves far more interested in the dynamics of the Naumann family, with Richard Gere playing doting professor dad Saul and Juliette Binoche as overachieving scientist mom Miriam — plus English Patient director Anthony Minghella’s son, Max, in his acting debut. Still, don’t count out some riveting spelling bee scenes; after all, says Scott McGehee, ”there’s something adorable about little kids who are smarter than us.”
(BEE SEASON: Phil Bray)
Posted August 11 2005 — 12:00 AM EDT
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