EXCLUSIVE: While years of attempts to adapt his seminal novel A Confederacy of Dunces have so far proven futile, a drama about John Kennedy Toole and the fascinating story behind his book is coming together as a film. Susan Sarandon, Thomas Mann and Diane Kruger are attached to The Butterfly in the Typewriter, a biopic about Toole’s brief but extraordinary life. David DuBos will direct his scripted adaptation of the Cory MacLauchlin book. Oley Sassone is producing. The Solution is handling international rights to the drama and will introduce the film to buyers in Berlin. The plan is to start production in May.
A student, teacher, and traveler, Toole (Mann) was a keen observer of the human condition. In 1964, he wrote his brilliant book but after years of unsuccessful attempts to get it published, the author fell into depression and died young, alone and unfulfilled. His grieving mother Thelma (Sarandon) would not allow her son to be forgotten, and she fought for over a decade to bring the novel to light. Kruger will play Patricia Rickels, a fellow college professor who formed a close relationship with Toole. The book was finally published in 1980, eleven years after Toole committed suicide at age 31. He won a posthumous Pulitzer Prize for a book that has been translated into 35 languages.
“Dunces is one of the great satirical novels of the 20th century,” said Solution’s Myles Nestel. “I don’t know if John Kennedy Toole could have possibly predicted that his work would be more relevant in today’s turbulent times than ever. The story behind the novel is as poignant as the work itself.”