In 2007 Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, directors of the hugely successful, and Oscar-winning film, Little Miss Sunshine, announced their plans to develop a big-screen adaptation of Tom Perrotta’s novel, The Abstinence Teacher, which centres on a sex education teacher who comes into conflict with the conservative members in her town who criticise her teaching style, and support of sex before marriage.
The project slipped into limbo when Warner Bros’ independent division closed it’s doors in 2008. However, three year’s on it seems the project has come back to life, with Albert Berger, Ron Yerxa, Polly Johnsen signing on to produce, and the studio in talks with Steve Carell (Date Night) and Sandra Bullock (The Proposal) to take the lead roles. Carell would take on the role of Tim Mason, while Bullock would portray Ruth Ramsey.
The full synopsis, courtesy of Production Weekly, is embedded below:
Stonewood Heights is the perfect place to raise kids. It’s got the proverbial good schools, solid values and a healthy real estate market. It’s the kind of place where parents are involved in their children’s lives, where no opportunity for enrichment goes unexplored. Ruth Ramsey is the human sexuality teacher at the local high school. She believes that “pleasure is good, shame is bad, and knowledge is power.” Ruth’s younger daughter’s soccer coach is Tim Mason, a former stoner and rocker whose response to hitting rock bottom was to reach out and be saved. Tim belongs to The Tabernacle, an evangelical Christian church that doesn’t approve of Ruth’s style of teaching. And Ruth in turn doesn’t applaud The Tabernacle’s mission to take its message outside its doors. Adversaries in a small-town culture war, Ruth and Tim instinctively mistrust each other. But when a controversy on the soccer field pushes the two of them to actually talk to each other, they are forced to take each other at something other than face value.
The match could potentially be very enjoyable, especially as both actors have been in a wide range of genre films, which will stand them in good stead for this project, a mix of comedy, drama and adult elements.
Even if Bullock and Carell don’t accept their respective offers, the film has a lot of potential, especially with two highly skilled directors at the helm. Two of Tom Perrotta have already been adapted, in the form of Todd Field’s Little Children and Alexander Payne’s Election.
Dayton and Faris announced earlier this year their intentions to direct a film called Will, based on a script written by Demetri Martin. The film is set to star Zach Galifianakis and Paul Rudd. A start date for filming, however, has not yet been revealed, but it’s likely this will come before The Abstinence Teacher.
The Playlist reported this one.