Peter Hedges to Adapt, Produce, and Direct His Own Novel, THE HEIGHTS

     April 5, 2010


While it’s not uncommon for an author to write the screenplay based on his novel, it’s noteworthy when that author decides to take on directing and producing duties as well.  Peter Hedges will go for the trifecta by adapting/directing/producing The Heights for Focus Features.  However, Hedges isn’t new to either writing or directing for films.  He adapted his novelWhat’s Eating Gilbert Grape, adapted Nick Hornby’s About a Boy and wrote and directed Pieces of April and Dan in Real Life.  Here’s how Variety describes the The Heights:

Hedges’ latest book is about a seemingly perfect husband and wife raising their children in an affluent neighborhood of Brooklyn known as the Heights. But their lives are turned upside down when a wealthy couple moves in next door.

I think Variety may have made a slight error in their summary because the official description it’s not a couple that moves in next door but an affluent single woman.  Hit the jump for the official synopsis.

heights_book_cover.jpgHere’s the official product description [via Amazon]:

Tim Welch is a popular history teacher at the Montague Academy, an exclusive private school in Brooklyn Heights. As he says, “I was an odd-looking, gawky kid but I like to think my rocky start forced me to develop empathy, kindness, and a tendency to be enthusiastic. All of this, I’m now convinced, helped in my quest to be worthy of Kate Oliver.” Now, Kate is not inherently ordinary. But she aspires to be. She stays home with their two young sons in a modest apartment trying desperately to become the parent she never had. They are seemingly the last middle-class family in the Heights, whose world is turned upside down by Anna Brody, the new neighbor who moves into the most expensive brownstone in Brooklyn, sending the local society into a tailspin.

Anna is not only beautiful and wealthy; she’s also mysterious. And for reasons Kate doesn’t quite understand, even as all the Range Rover- driving moms jockey for invitations into Anna’s circle, Anna sets her sights on Kate and Tim and brings them into her world.

Like Tom Perrotta, Peter Hedges has a keen eye for the surprising truths of daily life. The Heights is at once light of touch and packed with emotion and depth of character.

I don’t really find this kind of story appealing.  Although it’s a comedic story, I can’t bring myself to care about the personal problems of wealthy people.  I feel like I’m watching what’s dramatic to the characters but only because they’re so selfish they can’t see past their own noses.  I do like Dan in Real Life and I haven’t read Hedges book so perhaps it’s not the kind of story I think it will be.  But judging by that synopsis, The Heights doesn’t sound like my kind of movie.

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