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Seeing as how adulthood just keeps on going, a person’s ability to find the quality children’s books amongst all the dreck out there is challenging – as well as useless, if you don’t happen to have any children. Luckily, Hollywood is there to tell us big kids what’s worth reading, so that we can sound knowledgeable when all the pre-teens start talking about how cinema is “ruining their generation’s novels.”
Variety reports Paramount and The Montecito Picture Co. are getting into the adaptation game together, and will bring the middle school hijinks of The Dunderheads to the big screen. The series currently contains two super-fun books written by Newberry Medal-winning author Paul Fleischman and illustrated with juvenile spirit by David Roberts, who really brings the tale alive. Therein lies the problem with a cinematic adaptation, of course, and it doesn’t exactly help things that the narrative will be told in part from the main character’s point of view. The shudder-inducing phrase “Project X in a middle school” is used.
Tyler Spindel is attached to direct, making it his feature directorial debut. Spindel has worked for years on several different Happy Madison projects as an Assistant Director or Second Unit Director, as well as directing episodes of Nick Swardson’s series Pretend Time. He also acted in Swardson’s abysmal Bucky Larson: Born to Be a Star, as well as most of the other Adam Sandler flicks of the last few years. This all causes just as much worry as the Project X comment.
The subversiveness and school revolution are what make The Dunderheads somewhat relatable for adults, as it tells the tale of a tyrant teacher who rewards herself for her students’ misery, and when she takes things too far, a gang of distinct and interesting students come together to knock her down a peg. It’s going to take an amazing cast of kids to keep this thing legitimate, and if Sandler ends up playing the teacher dressed in drag, we’re never talking about this project again.