Field-helmed project expected to land at Paramount

“Election” author Tom Perrotta’s new book, “Little Children,” has been sold in a package deal that comes with Perrotta writing the script and “In the Bedroom” helmer Todd Field set to direct.

The preemptive purchase was made by producer Scott Rudin, who is teaming with Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa, the Bona Fide Prods. partners who produced “Election.” Book is expected to land at Paramount, where Rudin has his first-look deal.

Tome has been the most buzzed-about fiction on the movie rights market since Rudin bought screen rights to the Chang-rae Lee novel “Aloft” late last year. “Little Children” is described as matching the family dysfunction of “American Beauty” with the comedy of Perrotta’s “Election,” which was adapted by Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor.

Perrotta has traded in his overachieving student in favor of a suburban town full of perfect parents who are fully devoted to rearing their children for Harvard futures and keeping them safe from predators. The adults escape the excruciating bore-fests their lives have become via Internet porn and extramarital affairs. The tale concentrates on the affair between one stay-at-home mom with an ex-jock stay-at-home dad who rebels against his wife’s wishes that he become a big-bucks lawyer.

This will be the third Perrotta book project for Berger and Yerxa, who also are developing an adaptation of his “Joe College.” With Rudin, they brought in Field, the actor who made his directorial breakthrough on “In the Bedroom” in 2001.

Berger and Yerxa also are producing “Bee Season” for Regency and Fox Searchlight, and just landed director Harold Ramis and thesps John Cusack and Billy Bob Thornton for “The Ice Harvest” at Focus.

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