* HeyItsThatGuy: Massive amounts in the 2007 movie. [[Creator/AnnaSophiaRobb Leslie]] is [[Film/CharlieAndTheChocolateFactory Violet Beauregard]], her dad is [[Series/PowerRangersDinoThunder Mesogog]], the school bus driver is [[Series/PowerRangersMegaforce Mr. Burley]], the principal is [[Series/PowerRangersRPM Colonel Mason Truman]], Jess' dad is [[Film/Terminator2JudgmentDay the T-1000]], and his music teacher is [[Film/TheHitchhikersGuideToTheGalaxy Trillian]].
** Series/HannahMontana and [[{{Series/Heroes}} Claire Bennet]] perform on the soundtrack (as does Violet).
* RetroactiveRecognition: Jess is a young [[Film/TheHungerGames Peeta]].
** And Leslie is [[Film/SoulSurfer Bethany Hamilton]]. In fact, the real-life Bethany saw [=AnnaSophia=] in this film and decided she wanted Robb to play herself.
** She is also [[Series/TheCarrieDiaries a teenage Carrie Bradshaw]].
* WriteWhoYouKnow: An interesting variant in the 2007 film, in that Jess and Leslie base the creatures and inhabitants of their imaginary world off of people they know. In particular, the ''Squoagers'' and ''Hairy Vultures'' are monsters based off the bullies Scott Hoager and Gary Fulcher and even resemble them to a degree. The troll is based off Janice Avery, [[spoiler: and does a HeelFaceTurn after Leslie comforts her]], while [[spoiler: the Dark Master is based off Jess's father, and [[FridgeBrilliance disappears at the end, when the two of them finally understand one another]]]]. The wish-fulfillment of this arguably helps them both - but Jess in particular - to grow stronger in RealLife as well.
** In the more traditional Meta sense, the characters and story are based off events and people from Katherine Paterson's own life - Jesse off her son David, Leslie off his best friend Lisa Hill, etc., and Jesse's loneliness reflects Paterson's own inability to fit in at school with others. Plus the poverty of the situation during the Seventies post the Vietnam War era. And the religious connotations off her own upbringing, since she learned from her father (a missionary who often travelled as part of his duties).
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