Former Dalton teacher Anisha Lakhani‘s novel Schooled—inspired by the author’s experince teaching wealthy Manhattan private school kids—was optioned this week by actress Lorraine Bracco with Ms. Lakhani signed on to write the screenplay, Ms. Lakhani told the Daily Transom today.
“I went to Barnes & Noble yesterday, believe it or not, and bought Screenwriting for Dummies,” Ms. Lakhani said. “I’m freaking out. I have never written a screenplay before!”
The Daily Transom wondered just how Ms. Bracco became interested in Ms. Lakhani’s first novel, which was published in August.
“She read my book and thought it was really funny, and she said she could see it on the big screen,” Ms. Lakhani said. “She contacted my agent and made an offer. We met, and I loved her. I wanted to sell it to someone who had a really good sense of humor and she really appreciated the dark humor in Schooled and embraces it.”
As for being put in charge of penning the screenplay, Ms. Lakhani is grateful.
“She’s Lorraine Bracco! She can get anyone to write the screenplay, but she’s taking this leap of faith and asking me to do it,” she said. ” I think she’s right about people who are hungry—I’m hungry and I really want to do a good job because I want to earn her respect. I’m going to do my absolute best.”
Ms. Lakhani did not disclose the sum that Ms. Bracco paid for the film rights to the novel and said she wasn’t sure if Ms. Bracco was looking to act in or direct the film. (According to Ms. Bracco’s IMDb page, she has only directed one comedic short in her career—Auto Motives starring James Cameron and Robert Downey Jr.) And while Ms. Lakhani is not sure how much creative control she will ultimately have beyond writing the screenplay, she is already visualizing some things.
“If it does hit the screen, it will be so fun to get whole new group of young Hollywood actors together or even more unknown kids, some that actually go to school here in Manhattan,” she said. “There can be a lot of funny scenes like the bar mitzvah scene. Also—like Woody Allen’s movies which are all about loving New York—it would be fun to show, like, the moms outside the private schools, the little Shih-Tsus, and Yorkies, and Mannies, and Drivers. It will be great.”