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Scott Steindorff (HUMAN STAIN) has hired newcomer Dayan Ballweg to adapt T.C. Boyles novel TORTILLA CURTAIN. The film, based on Ballwegs take of the material, is being fast-tracked. Director Richard Pearce will grasp the reins on the project.

Ballweg, whose YOUNG AMERICANS script was a finalist in the Nicholl Fellowship screenwriting contest (the script is being made by director Andy Hurst), brought an interesting twist to the material which impressed the producer. (This is a good thing; the novel is rather directionless and doughy-with-significance.) Steindorff went on to say: Dayan is a young bright writer who will rise to the top."

The book tells the story of a car accident that brings together the lives of an illegal-alien couple and an affluent couple who live close by, but in an entirely different world.

We here at Screenwriters Utopia consider Ballweg a screenwriter to watch. We havent had the opportunity to see his overhaul of Boyles novel yet, but we thought his YOUNG AMERICANS script showed a blazing flair with the format and heralded a new voice in the trade.

If Ballweg is able to do what his producer said with this novel -- give it a comedic tweak that sets the material free -- then I suggest you book his time now, folks, because it wont be easy in the future. He will become the tough-adaptation taskmaster of his day.

Hopefully my shameless ass-kissing (almost as intense as Steindorffs) will get me a look at this adaptation and I can, for once, highlight a writer who took material and improved on it. There is an age-old legend that its possible.

Well just have to wait and see.

-- Darwin Mayflower (

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