Ben Everard’s day job is as a Hollywood movie producer; he cofounded Grey Matter Productions, which is currently producing Jennifer Garner’s latest project, Yes Day. They recently released The Laundromat, starring Meryl Streep. The former lawyer, however, is also a dad, which spurred him to take on a side project—children’s book author. Oh, The Places You’ve Been, is a whimsical tale about a little girl, Harper Glen, and a penny she finds that opens her whole world up. Co-written with his wife, Ben’s debut book is one of those rare bedtime stories parents will enjoy as much as kids. We spoke to Ben about this new book, his career, his three kids and more:
Can you tell me a bit more about your new book?
I wrote it for Harper, my daughter (just like the Harper in the book). It’s called Oh, The Places You’ve Been, inspired by one of my favorite books, Oh The Places You’ll Go, by Dr. Seuss. It has the same idea of, there are so many great wonders ahead of you, but reversed. My grandmother used to say that if you find a penny on the ground, it’s someone looking out for you. In the book, Harper finds a penny that is old, dirty and dark, and she tosses it aside—we often do the same, not realizing that older things can be underappreciated. The penny can magically talk and tells her about all the wonderful adventures it has seen, from the mountaintops to redwood forests to the ocean. Neil Armstrong even took it to the moon in his pocket! I wanted something that was totally accessible to everyone—I needed a device that was universally around but not expensive, to show how even old things can teach us so much. Any child anywhere can find a penny in their lives.
Wonderful! Yes Day looks like a fabulous family movie. Can you share a bit more about it?
Yes – it’s based on a children’s book by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. My wife saw a social media post by Jennifer Garner doing a “Yes Day” with her kids, where you have to do anything your kids ask to do (provided it’s not dangerous, far away or expensive). I turned to her and said, that’s a movie. It will be a Netflix original film.
Can’t wait to see it! Can you share a bit more about your family and the process of writing this book?
Harper is 6 and thinks it’s really cool. She calls it “the Harper book” and took it to her kindergarten class to read. On the publishing front, my wife and I wanted to instill a lesson about working hard towards a goal. The book was rejected by 15 publishers, so we sat down and explained, that’s okay, and we’ll keep forging ahead. Hudson is 4, in preschool, and keeps asking, when are we going to write a book about him—I have a few ideas! Harrison is 11 months old now.
What’s surprised you most about fatherhood?
My gut reaction is how all-encompassing it is—you can’t even remember your life without kids.
Yep! Last question: We love to support local businesses. Would you please share your favorite places where you live in Los Angeles?
Eat out with kids – Pit Fire
Date night – Sugar Fish for sushi
Get coffee – Urth Cafe
Spend time as a family – Manhattan Beach