A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.
Finding a balance between humour and the subject of anxiety on screen…
In 2015, ‘Why Am I Scared of Everything?’ was published; a humorous take on a fictional Regina’s struggles with anxiety – based very loosely on some of the experiences I’ve had. It was a diary-led catalogue of worst-case scenarios, punctuated with the slow growth of the character’s own strength and the support of her best friend. There were quotes to remind the reader of the positives to focus on, and hopefully a universal recognition of each chapter.
If a movie were to be made, I’d like to use a role model who perhaps had been through some of these struggles herself and was happy to discuss it openly, which might help curb the secrecy surrounding mental health issues. Whilst researching this, I came across Emma Stone, an actress with a lot of warmth and wit, who has spoken in the past about some of her anxiety:
“I would ask my mom to tell me exactly how the day was going to be, then ask again 30 seconds later. I just needed to know that no one was going to die and nothing was going to change.”
Emma has had success in both comedy and serious drama, and her role in Birdman shows her at her most acclaimed. In it she plays the damaged, intelligent, combative daughter of Michael Keaton’s struggling actor. The film focuses on struggle and mental health, and it is here that both actors showcase their talents for tackling it.
In the book, fear of death and dying lie next to fears of socialising, internet trolls and celebrity. Day to day life is dangerous to Regina. She must navigate it whilst trying to keep a lid on her own feelings of jealousy, fear of terrorism, all whilst trying not to bump in to her ex. I think Emma would be perfect for the role!
BETHANY STRAKER is an illustrator and designer working in Kent and London. She is currently working on 6 picture books for Skyhorse publishing and currently has a book out written by Isabel Atherton, called ‘Zombie Cat: The Tale of a Decomposing Kitty’. Her new books include a book she wrote called ‘The Funny Bunny Fly’, ‘A Curious Robot on Mars!’ written by James Duffett-Smith and ‘Smelly Ghost’ by Isabel Atherton. Previously, Bethany has illustrated for magazines for Disney, CMP Information, Bliss magazine, the National Magazine Company and GoGo’s Crazy Bones. You can see some examples of her work on her website, www.bethanystraker.com