Universal Pictures is picking up The Overachievers, an adaptation of the nonfiction Alexandra Robbins book for Shawn Levy and his 21 Laps, says The Hollywood Reporter. The Gotham Group also will produce the comedy, which Brian Gatewood and Alex Tanaka are writing.
In the book, published in August, Robbins (“Pledged: The Secret Life of Sororities”) chronicles the lives of students in a Bethesda, Md., high school as they navigate the SAT and college-application process. The teens are obsessed with success while they contend with illness, physical deterioration, cheating, obsessed parents and emotional breakdowns.
“I read the book while I was at the tail end of the ‘Night at the Museum’ shoot, and it really spoke to certain experiences I had had as a 16-year-old, virtually killing myself to get into Yale,” Levy said. “And I was kind of horrified to admit that I related to these kids. And there is something really unique about the culture right now where you have kids sacrificing the enjoyment of their youth to get to the next level. And the question is, what is the cost of ambition when you are 17 years old?”
The plan is to make a character-driven teen comedy a la John Hughes. There is a possibility Levy might direct.