Sunday, March 7, 2021

Lisa Fipps's "Starfish"

Lisa Fipps is a graduate of Ball State University, award-winning former journalist, current director of marketing for a public library (where she won the Sara Laughlin marketing award), and an author of middle-grade books. Starfish is her debut novel. She’s working on her next novel and several others. She currently lives in Indiana and lived in Texas.

Here dreamcasts an adaptation of Starfish:
Starfish gives readers a true-to-life glimpse into what a fat child’s life is like. The world tries to make Ellie feel small by bullying her relentlessly just because she’s fat. She only has a handful of allies, but they’re accepting, loving, and loyal: her dad; friend Viv (who moves away); her new neighbor, Catalina, who becomes her friend; her pug, Gigi; her therapist, Dr. Wood; the school librarian; and two teachers. Ellie’s resilient and has a great sense of humor as she struggles to keep from drowning in a sea of deep, emotional turmoil caused by fatphobia and anti-fat bias. During her journey, she realizes there’s nothing wrong with her; there’s something wrong with people who are full of hatred and cruelty. Then she realizes a powerful, freeing truth: She has the right to be seen, to be heard, and to take up space in the world.

The answer to who should play Ellie would need to come closer to when the movie came out because kids change so quickly as they age. That said, I would definitely want a fat girl to play Ellie, one who would not need a fat suit or prosthetic makeup. That would be horribly offensive. There are fat children actors. Let them shine as Ellie. Maybe like a young Chrissy Metz from This Is Us. As far as the parents, I’d love to see someone like Matthew McConaughey play Ellie’s dad, someone who could do a true, thick Texas accent. For Ellie’s mom, I’d want an actress who could play the role of being super tough (almost heartless) and make a lot of missteps but only because she has these internal principles she truly thinks are right (even though they’re not) and so she’s trying to do what she thinks is best, like Keri Russell did in The Americans.

I know so little about directing and directors. However, I can tell you about two TV shows and three movies that felt like seamless storytelling to me, which, I think is a sign of good directing: Indian Summers, The Americans, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Shawshank Redemption, and Steel Magnolias. That’s the key to me: seamless storytelling.
Visit Lisa Fipps's website.

--Marshal Zeringue