Natalie Portman is being pursued by Fox 2000 to star in the film adaptation of Megan Abbott‘s novel Dare Me, a story involving high school cheerleaders, suicide, mystery, and presumably lots of drama. The film will center around two high school seniors, Beth Cassidy and Addy Hanlon, who have a Heather Chandler/ Veronica Sawyer type relationship, and how their world changes for the more mysterious once a new, young cheerleading coach enters the mix.
The idea of a story that mixes elements of Heathers and Fight Club is definitely appealing, and I can see how the two could be combined into a twisted story with a strong but sadistic leader in a way that has the potential to be very interesting on the big screen. The book is definitely rooted in a high school setting, but I’m hoping, based on the Heathers association, that it can overcome some of the clichés of high school based films. The story is described, quite intriguingly, below:
Addy Hanlon has always been Beth Cassidy’s best friend and trusted lieutenant… Now they’re seniors who rule the intensely competitive cheer squad, feared and followed by the other girls—until the young new coach arrives.
Cool and commanding, an emissary from the adult world just beyond their reach, Coach Colette French draws Addy and the other cheerleaders into her life. Only Beth, unsettled by the new regime, remains outside Coach’s golden circle, waging a subtle but vicious campaign to regain her position as “top girl”—both with the team and with Addy herself.
Then a suicide focuses a police investigation on Coach and her squad. After the first wave of shock and grief, Addy tries to uncover the truth behind the death—and learns that the boundary between loyalty and love can be dangerous terrain.
The raw passions of girlhood are brought to life in this taut, unflinching exploration of friendship, ambition, and power…a harrowing glimpse into the dark heart of the all-American girl.(Amazon)
Given that the other main roles in the film are for teenagers, and Hollywood can only get so far casting actors 10 and 20 years out of high school as teenagers, I’m guessing Portman is more likely the cheerleading coach, Colette French. Hopefully, if Portman does agree to be in the film, she brings some dark energy with her from roles like Black Swan. We may even get a successor to Heathers and Mean Girls if we’re lucky.
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