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Jason Reitman Options Upper-Crust High School Satire

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Oscar-nominated writer and director Jason Reitman has bought the film rights to a satirical novel about kids at a high-priced Manhattan high school that was written by a "Saturday Night Live" scribe.

Simon Rich will adapt his own novel, "Elliot Allagash," for the big screen at the behest of Reitman, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Rich is a laughably boyish-looking 26-year-old (see his book's teaser below) who has previously written two collections of short stories, "Ant Farm," and "Free-Range Chickens." He's also written a spec script, "When a Stranger Calls a Dude," for Bill Heder and Judd Apatow.

From the official synopsis for "Elliot Allagash":

Seymour Herson is the least popular student at Glendale, a private school in Manhattan. He’s painfully shy, physically inept, and his new nick-name, “chunk style,” is in danger of entering common usage. But Seymour’s solitary existence comes to a swift end when he meets the new transfer student: Elliot Allagash, evil heir of America’s largest fortune.

Elliot’s rampant delinquency has already gotten him expelled from dozens of prep schools around the country. But despite his best efforts, he can’t get himself thrown out of Glendale; his father has simply donated too much money. Bitter and bored, Elliot decides to amuse himself by taking up a challenging and expensive new hobby: transforming Seymour into the most popular student in the school.

An unlikely friendship develops between the two loners as Elliot introduces Seymour to new concepts, like power, sabotage, and vengeance. With Elliot as his diabolical strategist and investor, Seymour scores a spot on the basketball team, becomes class president, and ruthlessly destroys his enemies. Yet despite the glow of newfound popularity, Seymour feels increasingly uneasy with Elliot’s wily designs. For an Allagash victory is dishonorable at its best, and ruinous at its worst.

As a graduate of Dalton on Manhattan's Upper East Side, Rich is no doubt well-versed in his topic/target. After high school he went on to be president of the Harvard Lampoon and eventually became the youngest writer ever on "SNL." Not a bad start.

Whether Reitman will direct is unclear, but the guess here -- and that's all it is -- is that he won't. In his brief career he's had a hand in adapting both novels -- "Thank You for Smoking" and "Up in the Air" -- he's brought to the big screen as a director. We'll see.

 

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