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About The Production
Published in 1998, About A Boy was Nick Hornby's third novel after the hugely successful Fever Pitch and High Fidelity, both of which were made into feature films by Working Title Films. Boy sold more than one million copies in the UK alone and foreign rights were sold in more than 20 countries. Number one on the UK bestseller lists, it also hit number two on the LA Times bestseller list.

A sort of Bridget Jones's Diary for men, About A Boy shows that low self-esteem is not solely a women's issue, that men can be just as vulnerable when it comes to loveand self-understanding. In a beguiling, poignant, often hilarious mix of humor and drama, Hornby brilliantly reveals the complex emotional lives of his attractive, eccentric characters as they struggle with issues of isolation, fear of commitment and the true meaning of love and family in today's urban world.

Tribeca Productions, the New-York based production company headed by Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal, recognized the potential of Hornby's novel and optioned the rights in 1998 just prior to publication. "Nick Hornby has such an extraordinary voice," said producer Jane Rosenthal. "It was a natural book to turn into a movie. There aren't many writers who write with that vision in a way that can so easily be adapted for the screen."

Hoping to stay true to the book's unique London feel and atmosphere, Tribeca was looking for a British producing partner. It was a natural progression to team up with Working Title Films, which had already produced the film adaptation of Nick Hornby's High Fidelity. Working Title also had a long-standing relationship with Hugh Grant, who had starred in three of their most successful films, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill and Bridget Jones's Diary. "Our partners at Working Title have been extraordinary to work with and have really eased us into shooting in a foreign location," said Rosenthal. "It's been wonderful working with them and I hope to do a lot more there."

Directors of the teen blockbuster hit American Pie, Paul Weitz and Chris Weitz may have seemed an unusual choice to direct About A Boy, but as Rosenthal pointed out, "They were passionate about the material and passion speaks volumes. In spite of the fact that they are not known for this kind of material, when you get to know them, you understand that this is actually closer to their heart than anything else they have done."

In fact, Chris had read the book on vacation some two years before they became involved and had fallen in love with it. "It was just so immensely charming and fascinating," he said. After convincing his brother Paul that they should buy the film rights, they discovered that the book had already been optioned – and was being set up with another director. That didn't stop them from expressing their enthusiasm to Tribeca – just in case the situation should change. As luck would have it, it did. "We had circled round the project like vultures for a couple of years and finally got our shot at it," said Chris.

"The comedy of this novel is so much more articulate than most comedies these days," said Paul. Having had a huge hit with a teen comedy, he and Chris were keen to tackle a more adult piece. Hornby's pitch perfect dialogue was one of the main attractions. "The only difficulty in adapting the book for the screen," said Chris, "was figuring out, amongst all the rich dialogue, which bits to leave out in order to make it fit into a two hour movie." The other big challenge was balancing Hornby's trademark blend of comedy and drama.

"In any comedy," said Chris, "it's a delicate walk between what is amusing about human foibles and what is disturbing about th

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