(500) Days of Summer filmmaker Marc Webb has been busy going back to character-centric dramas after helming The Amazing Spider-Man and its sequel, but now the director is ready to take on a big project of a different sort. It was announced today that Webb will direct This Above All, a film based on the true life story of Megan Phelps-Roper, former member of the Westboro Baptist Church. Author and Oscar-nominated Brooklyn screenwriter Nick Hornby is on tap to pen the script, which will be based on an article written by Adrian Chen for The New Yorker as well as Phelps-Roper’s upcoming memoir.
Phelps-Roper was one of the most vocal members of the hateful Westboro Baptist Church, taking to Twitter and engaging with a wide-range of folks (including many celebrities) while preaching God’s power and damning those who the Westboro Baptist Church felt were going against God’s will. The hateful rhetoric made media wave after wave, as the Westboro members were known to show up and protest at funerals of fallen soldiers. But through Phelps-Roper’s conversations with people on Twitter, she began to question her belief system, and eventually she and her younger sister made the decision to leave the Church entirely.
This is definitely compelling material for a feature film, as anyone who’s read the New Yorker piece can attest. Phelps-Roper’s story is not so cut and dry, and though it’s easy to see her decision to leave the Church as a no-brainer, it was difficult from the inside.
Dawn Ostroff and Jeremy Steckler of Condé Nast Entertainment (CNÉ), Reese Witherspoon, Bruna Papandrea for Made Up Stories, Marc Webb, and River Road Entertainment’s Bill Pohlad will produce. River Road will finance. Webb is coming off of directing two dramas back-to-back, the Chris Evans-fronted Gifted and the Jeff Bridges drama The Only Living Boy in New York. He made waves with (500) Days of Summer before jumping to Sony’s Spideyverse, and I’m mighty curious to see what he makes of This Above All.