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Hey, Hey, It’s Esther Blueburger

Release date: March 20, 2008
Directed by: Cathy Randall
Written by: Cathy Randall
Produced by: Miriam Stein
Running time: 103 minutes

Thirteen-year-old Esther Blueburger's (Danielle Catanzariti) quest for being one of the cool kids begins when she escapes from her Bat Mitzvah party and is befriended by Sunni (Keisha Castle-Hughes), the effortlessly cool girl who is everything Esther thinks she wants to be. With the help of Sunni, Esther goes AWOL from her ordinary life and leaves behind her malfunctioning family to hang out with Sunni's far breezier and super-hip single mom Mary (Toni Collette) and attend Sunni's school as a Swedish exchange student.

Cast & Characters

Danielle Catanzariti (Esther Blueburger), Keisha Castle-Hughes (Sunni), Toni Collette (Mary), Essie Davis (Grace Blueburger), Russell Dykstra (Osmond Blueburger), Christian Byers (Jacob Blueburger), Bridget Walters (Mrs Rosen), Esme Proudman (Mrs. Silverman), Deidre Rubenstein (Mrs. Fleisher), Caitlin McDougall (Miss Koolkats), Jonny Pasvolsky (Mr. Hooper), Elise Champion (Helen), Nikita Adams (Piper), Daniela Ganter (Alex), Lyn Pike (Sunni’s Grandmother), Patrick Frost (Sunni’s Grandfather)

Production Notes

Toni Collette joins the increasingly long line of people who found themselves falling in love with Esther. “I fell in love with her plight and her story and her quirks and I just found it all very emotional,” she says. “I am often drawn to themes where people have to find themselves, where they start off slightly off kilter and learn that they can well and truly be themselves. “The style of this film is so unusual and beautiful and interesting and funny – I think it will appeal to both kids and adults. You know, a film can be fun but I think that it is much more important to have a heart. When it has both, like Esther, it is perfect.” Collette was also drawn to her character, Mary, because she is someone she knew many people would recognize from their own childhoods: “the cool mom,” or at least the woman who appeared that way from a distance, even if her life wasn’t so picture-perfect on second look. “I do think Mary is good for Esther because all the other people in her life are so dominating and Mary just allows her to be who she is. We all remember those mothers you could really open up to and I think Mary is that for Esther.” When Collette came on board, everyone’s excitement soared. “Of course we were excited – Toni is without a doubt one of our finest actresses,” remarks Miriam Stein. For Cathy Randall, it was a dream come true to work with an actor of Collette’s extraordinary calibre in her very first film. “Toni was just fantastic. She was so professional but also very generous with all the kids. It was a real honour to work with her.”