Broadway Director Alex Timbers to Helm Adaptation of HECK; Chris Weitz Rewriting Screenplay

     January 4, 2012

MGM is making moves. After lingering in financial troubles for quite a while (putting projects like Red Dawn, Cabin in the Woods, and the Bond franchise in jeopardy), the studio is now moving full-speed ahead. Earlier today we reported on the studio’s remake of Carrie, and now comes some news concerning their adaptation of the children’s book Heck: Where the Bad Kids Go. Oscar-winning director Juan Jose Campanella (El Secreto de Sus Ojos) was previously attached to helm the pic, but word now comes that Tony-nominated writer/director Alex Timbers (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) is in final negotiations to man the director’s chair. Hit the jump for more.

heck_book_cover_01Vulture reports that Timbers is thisclose to inking a deal to direct the adaptation. The director has been working on Broadway for years, and notably helmed the rock musical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and last year’s The Pee Wee Herman Show. The story of Heck centers on a good kid who dies with his shoplifting sister in a freak accident, sending the two to “an unearthly reform school called Heck.” It’s a pretty imaginative premise, and one that could benefit greatly from a visionary feature adaptation.

Along with the news that Timbers is poised to take the helm on the project, The Playlist reports that Chris Weitz (About a Boy, The Golden Compass) has been brought on to rewrite the script. The initial draft was written by David Iserson (Saturday Night Live), but it appears that the studio is taking another stab at the adaptation. If Timbers indeed signs on, I assume he’ll have some say in screenplay takes as well. Heck is the first in a series of books, so MGM is presumably looking to start a potential franchise.

Here’s the synopsis for Heck:

When Milton and Marlo Fauster die in a marshmallow-bear explosion, they get sent straight to Heck, an otherworldly reform school. Milton can understand why his kleptomaniac sister is here, but Milton is-or was-a model citizen. Has a mistake been made? Not according to Bea “Elsa” Bubb, the Principal of Darkness. She doesn’t make mistakes. She personally sees to it that Heck-whether it be home ec class with Lizzie Borden, ethics with Richard Nixon, or gym with Blackbeard the pirate-is especially, well, heckish for the Fausters. Will Milton and Marlo find a way to escape? Or are they stuck here for all eternity, or until they turn eighteen, whichever comes first? [Amazon]

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