Jason Reitman Options Rights to Satirical Novel ELLIOT ALLAGASH by SNL Writer Simon Rich

     June 22, 2010

Jason Reitman and his production company Right of Way Films has purchased the movie rights to Saturday Night Live writer Simon Rich’s satirical novel Elliot Allagash.  Here’s THR‘s brief summary of the plot:

“Allagash,” which offers a satiric take on private schools and the excesses of the rich, centers on Seymour Herson, a boy who is regularly picked on at his private school. He is taken under the wing of the book’s title character, a teen who regularly gets drunk and enjoys villainy.

While Reitman has optioned the rights, he hasn’t signaled any intent to direct the adaptation.  Hit the jump for updates on Reitman’s other projects along with reviews of the book.

Reitman told USA Today back in September 2009 that his next project would be an adaptation of Joyce Maynard’s novel, Labor Day (although THR says he hasn’t committed to direct a new movie yet).  He’s also got a hockey movie (Whispers in Bedlam) and an untitled movie about hockey.  Reitman is also producing the Duplass Brothers’ next movie Jeff Who Lives at Home, which will star Jason Segel and Ed Helms.

As for Elliot Allagash, Publisher’s Weekly [via Amazon] gave the book a mixed review, saying that it’s is “a hit and miss riff on Pygmalion” and that “While Rich is undoubtedly funny and quick-witted, his novelistic chops are underdeveloped, and the narrative’s inevitability and the lack of character development detract from the book’s finer, funnier points.”

Then again, some gent named Judd Apatow said, “I found Simon Rich’s first novel, about an evil teenage billionaire, to be suspenseful and hilarious.  I am so glad I don’t have to lie in this blurb like I usually do.”  Author A.J. Jacobs (The Know-It-All, The Year of Living Biblically)

Here’s the official book description [again via Amazon]:

Simon Rich dazzled readers with his absurdist sense of humor in his hilarious collections Ant Farm and Free-Range Chickens. Now comes Rich’s rollicking debut novel, which explores the strangest, most twisted, and comically fraught terrain of them all: high school.

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.

Cunningly playful and wickedly funny, Elliot Allagash is a tale about all of the incredible things that money can buy, and the one or two things that it can’t.

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