Jason Reitman Options Elliot Allagash

Jason Reitman

Four-time Academy award nominated writer/director/producer Jason Reitman and his Right of Way Films production banner have optioned movie rights to Saturday Night Live writer Simon Rich‘s novel Elliot Allagash. Rich will adapt his book for the screen, and while Reitman intends to produce the adaptation, THR is unsure if he will direct it or not.

The book is a return to teenage years, telling the story of a high school loser named Seymour who gets a life-changing makeover after meeting a fabulously wealthy transfer student named Elliot. Seymour is taught how to gain popularity and power, under one condition… he must agree to do whatever Elliot tells him to do.

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We are in a golden age of comedy and Judd Apatow deserves a wealth of plaudits for his part in it. Not only are the films he has directed himself definitely at the peak, he’s also behind – to some extent – much of the second and third tiers too. I might not agree with every director (Seth Gordon Green) or star (Rob Schneider) to be given bunk on one of these films, but the overall effect is very agreeable. This overall effect, not to put too fine a point on it, is more genuinely funny, smart and worthwhile American comedies in the cinemas than for a very, very long time.

I fancifully imagine the “Judd Apatow, Comedy Godfather” scenario as something like Billy Wilder being given the money and responsibility by a studio to go out and hire the people he thinks funny, kick start their projects and encourage and consult where necessary. In my imagination they then all stand around like the end credits of a Police Squad while we rush out and see their movies.

But it may be more than comedy that Apatow is tending in Hollywood’s garden.  Bill Hader has revealed that Apatow encouraged him to write, along with his Saturday Night Live writing room colleague Simon Rich, the screenplay for a slasher film.

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