One look at her resume and it’s clear that screenwriter Elizabeth Chandler has an affinity for writing movies that feature female protagonists. Her latest project, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, is the story of “four young women who share an unbreakable bond” and was adapted from Ann Brashares’ best-selling book series. Previously, it was Chandler who brought Sarah Crewe of the Frances Hodgson Burnett classic A Little Princess to the screen for the 1995 film of the same name. And it was her again who adapted Laura Zigman’s novel Animal Husbandry into 2001’s Someone Like You, starring Ashley Judd as the lovelorn Jane Goodale, who takes romantic matters into her own hands. Throughout her career Chandler has managed to adeptly adapt plucky heroines from the page to the screen. This year proves no different.
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, which takes place the summer after the four main characters—played by America Ferrera, Amber Tamblyn, Alexis Bledel and Blake Lively—have returned from their first year away at college, draws upon material from the second, third and fourth books in the young adult series. “This allowed us to explore more mature issues and dramatize how the girls deal with these problems while the bonds of their friendship are beginning to unravel,” Chandler explains. “However, in trying to craft the most compelling storylines for each character, I incorporated certain dramatic elements from all three books that were particularly meaningful.” And Chandler is just the one to recognize those meaningful moments as she had previously brought Brashares’ four loveable characters to life for the original 2005 film, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.
“The stories [of each of the four main characters] have to balance one another, connect and separate organically in a way that makes you feel that you’re watching one continuous flow rather than four independent vignettes,” explains producer Broderick Johnson, who declares Chandler’s work to have the “expert pacing” needed to carry this off.
Starting with the Golden Globe-winning HBO film Afterburn (1992), which told the story of a woman (Laura Dern) fighting against the U.S. military to clear her husband’s name, Chandler made a name for herself spelling out the female psyche on screen. Now, more than 15 years later, she continues to tell stories of strong, relatable women who are more than just supporting characters.