Sometimes an idea is just so good you can’t stand to see it sit around without acting upon it immediately. That idea can be as novel as putting roasted garlic on a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but it can also include impulsively acquiring a quirky novel to turn it into a movie. Sadly, I don’t have as much experience with that second one, though I guess it’s sadder I have experience with the first. Sony Pictures has officially snatched up the recently published young adult novel Grasshopper Jungle, with mega producer Matt Tolmach (the Amazing Spider-Man franchise) overseeing it for the studio.
Written by California author Andrew Smith and published less than a month ago, Grasshopper Jungle is a novel for young adults that handles some very adult themes. Our Midwestern protagonist Austin is a teenage virgin whose mind is cluttered with sexual thoughts and fantasies, some involving his girlfriend and gay best friend Robby. Austin and Robby’s small-town lives are similar, as both have Xanax-addled mothers and both are involved with trying to save the planet.
You see, Grasshopper Jungle isn’t just a coming of age novel, but also an epic bug battle. Austin and Robby create a science project gone wrong that leaves their town and soon THE WORLD overrun with six-foot-tall praying mantises with seemingly impenetrable exoskeletons and a thirst for blood. Plus, they’ve very, very horny and are willing to fornicate with anything in sight. Deadline likens it to Stand by Me meshed with Attack the Block, and that sounds about right, only mixed with the sexual tension you get from seeing H.R. Giger’s designs in Ridley Scott’s Alien.
Nearly as interesting as the plot is the screenwriter who brought the project to the attention of Sony execs Michael De Luca and Elizabeth Cantillion in the first place. Scott Rosenberg, writer of such flicks as Con Air and High Fidelity, is in negotiations to pen the screenplay. He’d taken some time off from features, with his last being 2003’s absolutely dreadful Kangaroo Jack, and he’s been more prevalent in TV projects in recent years, creating the goofy horror series Happy Town and executive producing The CW’s romantic drama Star-Crossed.
I absolutely cannot wait to see this project come together, with as few bugs in the process as possible. For a background understanding on the novel from the author himself, check out the interview below.