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How Francis Ford Coppola's 'The Outsiders' Got Made, with Help from School Librarian

Photo of Beth Hanna By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood March 18, 2013 at 1:52PM

As we know from the hugely successful "Veronica Mars" Kickstarter that reached its goal in record time on March 13, fans have a definite sway in getting movies made. Check out this fascinating correspondence from 1980 between elementary school librarian Jo Ellen Misakian and Hollywood producer Fred Roos, which chronicles Misakian asking Francis Ford Coppola to adapt her school's favorite book, "The Outsiders," into a movie, and then Roos responding with "cautious optimism."
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"The Outsiders"
"The Outsiders"

As we know from the hugely successful "Veronica Mars" Kickstarter that reached its goal in record time on March 13, fans have a definite sway in getting movies made. Check out this fascinating correspondence from 1980 between elementary school librarian Jo Ellen Misakian and Hollywood producer Fred Roos, which chronicles Misakian asking Francis Ford Coppola to adapt her school's favorite book, "The Outsiders," into a movie, and then Roos responding with "cautious optimism."

The letter below is the first response from Roos, in which he thanks Misakian for her students' petition, and mentions that "the next step is for myself and other members of our company to read the book." He also misspells her name, an error that is fixed in later letters.

"The Outsiders" of course ultimately went into production and was released in 1983. It stars, among others, Matt Dillon, Patrick Swayze, Tom Cruise, Diane Lane, Emilio Estevez, Rob Lowe and Ralph Macchio.

The entire correspondence is fascinating, and can be read here on the Letters of Note blog.

Letter, the Outsiders



This article is related to: News, News, Francis Ford Coppola


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.