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Dunces' Debut
Pulitzer Prize winner finally gets to the screen

08 November 2002  |  Written by   

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Leap for delight and fairly howl at the moon for after 22 years in development hell and a huge law-suit between Hollywood heavies, John Kennedy Toole's quite fantastic novel, Confederacy of Dunces is finally to be brought to the screen.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning scream of a book tells the story of the grotesque Ignatius J. Reilly and his stilted romances, lousy jobs and terrifying maroon-haired mother in 60s New Orleans. Wonderfully addictive – and only published after its author's tragic suicide at only 33 – the novel was snapped up for the screen as soon as it was published to phenomenal success in 1980 but had to suffer in development limbo until the not untalented Steven Soderbergh became interested. However, the whole project seemed to be jinxed when in 1996 just as they were about to confirm a deal to produce the film, Soderbergh and fellow filmmaker Scott Kramer filed a lawsuit against Paramount after the studio secretly bought the rights to the book from under their noses.

The wonderful news is that Miramax have now picked up the film with Soderbergh and Kramer writing the script. The lucky, lucky director at the helm will be the disgustingly young David Gordon Green, who at 28 has only the excellent indie flick, George Washington and the yet to be released romantic drama All the Real Girls on his CV. His attachment to the book, however, is as old as the novel's published life, "I've been obsessed with this book since an English teacher of mine gave it to me when I was a kid," Green commented to Variety. "It really captures human emotions and the way they relate to each other, but not in a caricatured way."
With her company Flower Films helping to produce the flick, Drew Barrymore is also slated to play an as yet unspecified role. If the film comes any way near living up to its wonderful source, Empire Online will be truly happy indeed.

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