DreamWorks Pictures has picked up the film rights to Michael D’Antonio’s book “The State Boys Rebellion,” which reveals the history of a government program that locked poor or uneducated children into mental institutions from the early 1900s through the 1970s.
DreamWorks quickly snatched up the rights to the book after a report on the book and the institutions aired May 2 on “60 Minutes,” piquing the interest of Steven Spielberg.
The studio paid mid-six figures for the book, which follows the true story of Frederick Boyce and his friends, now in their 60s, whose childhoods were spent in the Walter E. Fernald School for the Feebleminded in Massachusetts.
The children were neglected, abused and used for scientific experiments as part of the eugenics movement that tried to separate people considered to be genetically inferior from the rest of society in order to prevent them from reproducing.
Title refers to a violent uprising by the children in 1957 at the prisonlike institution to garner media attention to their situation and enable them to escape.
Walter Parkes will produce the project, while DreamWorks exec Meredith Bagby will shepherd its development at the studio.
“The State Boys Rebellion” was published May 3 by Simon & Schuster.