"The Overachievers" are at Universal

the-overachievers-novelThe Hollywood Reporter announced that Universal Pictures has picked up an adaptation of Alexandra Robbins nonfiction book, The Overachievers, for director Shawn Levy and his 21 Laps production company. The Overachievers follows a group of Maryland high school students preparing for the SATs, applying to colleges, and all the sickness, deceit, breakdowns, and obsessive parents that come with that. Levy read the book near the end of his directorial stint on Night At the Museum. He connected with the book from his own memories of this time period saying, “…there is something really unique about the culture right now where you have kids sacrificing the enjoyment of their youth to get to the next level.” The book is being adapted into a character-driven teen comedy by screenwriters Brian Gatewood and Alex Tanaka. Gatewood and Tanaka previously wrote Hairstyles for the Damned for Focus Features and Speedo for Warner Bros. In addition to The Overachievers, Shawn Levy and 21 Laps have been setting up several projects lately including The Seems and The Devil You Know. There is a chance Levy will direct this project, and Universal is hoping so after seeing the box office numbers that Night at the Museum did.

Read more details about the deal here.
Read more about the book, The Overachievers, here.

2 comments… add one
  • fanDoc13 May 11, 2007, 8:36 am

    This sounds like a really interesting project – if done right. Such culture among teens, especially upper middle class and wealthy white teens, certainly exists and hasn’t been addressed. What I worry about from reading your post is that it sounds like the writers are attempting to mold the story into a ‘teen comedy’. Having not read the book, though, it seems that it takes a more serious look at the subject. I would hate to see a light-hearted approach taken to this adaptation. I’m not knocking a big comedic approach – but only to highlight the subject matter – ala Rushmore or Election, not Date Movie or Ten Things I Hate About You.

  • Super Spy Y May 11, 2007, 2:21 pm

    Sorry fanDoc13, but they are taking the teen comedy approach “ala John Hughes”. I expect something that falls between Election and Date Movie. Over the years, audiences have connected with serious teenage subject matter that was mixed in with older adult themes (American Beauty, The Ice Storm). Perhaps this is the approach they should take. Building upon the parents’ perspective also could produce a very intelligent, insightful piece that many people would take something from.


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