Margaret Mahy, New Zealand’s most celebrated children’s and young adult writer is the author of over 120 titles, including the very popular novel, The Changeover. For those who have not read the book, The Changeover is a supernatural thriller about a troubled teenager who must become a witch to save her little brother from an ancient spirit. It is full of humour, fantasy, adventure, science and the supernatural. The movie features newcomer Erana James as Laura Chant, the novel’s heroine, who is supported by a stellar cast including Melanie Lynskey, as Laura’s mum, Timothy Spall as the creepy Carmody Braque and Lucy Lawless as an urban witch who helps Laura change over.
Margaret Mahy worked as a librarian before becoming a full-time writer. She knew her readership and wrote stories for them. The novel has captured the imagination of young people worldwide and been translated into over 15 languages including; German, French, Spanish, Dutch, Norwegian, Danish, Icelandic, Swedish, Finnish, Italian, Japanese, Catalan, Afrikaans, Russian and Chinese. The godmother of young adult fiction and a local legend in Christchurch where the film version was made, the post-earthquake landscape provides the perfect backdrop to the story. The city grows and develops through dark times, reflecting the central character’s challenge to face her fears and overcome adversity.
When considering the overall approach to the story, filmmakers Miranda Harcourt and Stuart McKenzie, sought inspiration from their own family. “We wanted to reflect back to our girls the things that touch them deeply. Their fear of the dangers of the world and their feelings of weakness and disempowerment. Their fear that they are awkward and unlovely. Their sense that they are not yet whom they might become. Their energy and fun. Their longing for love. Their feeling that they have deep powers waiting to be unleashed.”
The Changeover is now showing in cinemas across New Zealand. See the film and read the book. Ask your local librarian for a copy.
If you want to learn more about the book or the making of the film contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or download the film's Press Kit here.