When Zachary Beaver Came to Town

When Zachary Beaver Came to Town is a 2003 comedy-drama film directed by John Schultz and starring Jonathan Lipnicki and Cody Linley. It was adapted from a National Book Award-winning children's novel of the same name by Kimberly Willis Holt.[1][2]

When Zachary Beaver Came to Town
When Zachary Beaver Came To Town.jpg
DVD cover
Directed byJohn Schultz
Produced byMichael Corrente
Amy Robinson
Jay Julien
Screenplay byJohn Schultz
Based onWhen Zachary Beaver Came to Town
by Kimberly Willis Holt
StarringSasha Joseph Neulinger
Jonathan Lipnicki
Cody Linley
Jesse Plemons
Jane Krakowski
Eric Stoltz
Music byRichard Gibbs
CinematographyShawn Maurer
Edited byJohn Pace
Distributed byEcho Bridge Home Entertainment
Release date
  • October 9, 2003 (2003-10-09)
Running time
85 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$3 million


One summer in the small, sleepy town of Granger, Texas, Toby Wilson's life changes. Toby (Jonathan Lipnicki) is a boy who lives with his parents, but his mother runs off to Nashville to try to become a singer. Later, he and his best friend Cal McKnight (Cody Linley) meet a fat sideshow freak named Zachary Beaver (Sasha Neulinger), who has no parents or friends. Zachary, "The Fattest Boy Ever," spends most of his time in a small, silver trailer; he is abandoned by his legal guardian, Paulie Rankin, so [Paulie] can look for new additions to their circus. Toby and Cal get to know him, and slowly become friends with him.

They cope with the loss of Cal's brother, Wayne, who was recruited for the War on Terror in Iraq and later dies, which makes Cal extremely upset. Toby had been sending letters to Wayne pretending to be Cal until Wayne is killed, and Toby finally tells him this which leads to a fight between the two. Meanwhile, Toby is in Zachary's trailer during the funeral and Cal shows up. He gives Toby all the money he ever borrowed and tells him his mom is never coming back, just like Wayne. Later, Toby gives a country girl he likes a necklace, which was his mother's, but she gives it back to him because she likes someone else and doesn't like Toby that way. Earlier, Toby got to dance with her after her boyfriend broke up with her. Cal and Toby become friends after Toby chases him down to a lake soon after. In the end, they help Zachary get baptized in Gossimer Lake with the alcoholic preacher/cook owner of a local cafe, Ferris, who once studied to be a priest; later Paulie returns with circus performers to retrieve him. Zachary leaves town with them, and Cal and Toby's friendship is reaffirmed.


In order to play the role of Toby, Jonathan Lipnicki attempted to gain the rights to the book when he was only ten years old, but was unsuccessful. He was later cast after he agreed to work with director John Schultz on the film Like Mike.[3]

The film was shot in the cities of Austin and Granger in Texas.[4]


  1. ^ "When-Zachary-Beaver-Came-to-Town - Trailer - Cast - Showtimes - NYTimes.com". Movies.nytimes.com. 2012-06-05. Retrieved 2012-08-07.
  2. ^ "National Book Awards – 1999". National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2011-10-14.
    (With acceptance speech by Willis Holt.)
  3. ^ "Jonathan Lipnicki on Jerry Maguire, meth, and growing up on screen". The A.V. Club. Retrieved 2016-03-03.
  4. ^ "When Zachary Beaver Came to Town (2003) - Trivia". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2012-07-30.

Cast and CrewEdit

Jonathan Lipnicki as Toby

Cody Linley as Cal

Jesse Pennington as Wayne

External linksEdit