Q: How did you become involved with THE RON CLARK STORY?
A: Matthew Perry requested me for this project, and I was just thrilled because he and I had wanted to work together for years. I read the script and thought what a wonderful part for him, and what a wonderful way for him to expand the kinds of roles that he's done.
Q: What's special about THE RON CLARK STORY?
A: Ron Clark is an incredible character and amazing teacher. He was so creative in the way that he worked with his students and got the respect and attention of kids who had never paid attention in school. People of every age can enjoy this movie because it's about the empowerment of people. His students saw someone who genuinely cared about them. The key to what he did for these students was to respect each as an individual and help them see themselves and their future in a new light. It's deeply inspiring on the best level about how one individual can make such an incredible difference in the lives of others.
Q: What are some of the challenges in making a movie about a real person?
A: There are a lot of responsibilities that come with telling the story of a real person. You have to be as true as you can to the real story, to the real personality, yet you have to make it into a story that works as a film. You have an actor playing the character who will never be identical to the real person, from what their voice sounds like and how they move to every specific event. Then you hope that, in the story version of their life, you are as true as you can be to the essence of who they are and what their experience was.
Q: What attributes do you believe Matthew Perry brings to the film as Ron Clark?
A: Matthew Perry brings a wonderful sense of spontaneity and humor to the film. He was spontaneous with the kids and did the most unexpected things with them and got their attention. Matthew is like this in life, with his own kind of humor that disarms people, shakes them up and wakes them up a little bit. I see him doing this with the kids off camera, and it's what he is able to do on camera. That's like Ron.