March 6, 2002

The Last Boy Hits Shelves

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Prof. Robert Lieberman ’62, physics, has big ambitions for his most recent novel, The Last Boy.

The novel, published this month by Sourcebooks, Inc., has been optioned by producers Nick Wechsler and Michael Gruskoff of Industry Entertainment in Los Angeles, CA.

The Last Boy tells the story of a five-year-old named Danny Driscoll and his disappearance from a day care center in Ithaca. Six months later, Danny returns on his own account. However, he has dramatically changed, now mature and insightful in a way that seems almost impossible for his young age.

Lieberman got the idea for the novel in a nightmare he had three years ago. “I dreamed that I went to pick up my son from day care and he was missing,” he said. “This is a love story, a police procedural and a story about the Earth and nature. There are twists and turns and a lot of unpredictable events.”

Lieberman began writing the novel in 1999.

The book went through seven rewrites before being picked up by its current publishing company, Sourcebooks Inc.

“There are a lot of books of mine that haven’t made it,” Lieberman said. “The business has gotten tough.”

Hollywood was interested in The Last Boy even before the story was accepted by publishers, according to Lieberman. “They’re ahead of the cycle. There are moles in the publishing company who send out manuscripts,” he said.

“The novel was very well written and had the markings of a great film,” said Michael Gruskoff of Industry Entertainment, a management and production company representing writers, directors and actors that produces television and feature films and television series.

“The project is in the embryo stage of development,” Gruskoff said. “We’re trying to get the money raised to have a screenplay written.”

“I thought something was there,” said Nick Wechsler, also of Industry Entertainment, who recently produced The Yards starring Mark Wahlberg and Fifteen Minutes with Robert De Niro.

Although Wechsler was not sure who would write the screenplay, he was positive that he wanted Lieberman to at least write the first draft.

Gary Fleder, a film director whose most recent work includes the thriller Don’t Say A Word, also had expressed interest in The Last Boy, according to Lieberman.

Although the novel has been optioned by Industry Entertainment, there is no guarantee that the film adaptation will be made.

“It’s hard to say how things will turn out in Hollywood,” Lieberman said. “In this business, until it’s done, you just don’t know.” In the meantime, Lieberman plans to travel to San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Boston, Denver/Boulder, Buffalo, Rochester and New York City on a book promotion tour.

“This is the most interesting time,” Lieberman said, referring to the first few weeks follow his novel’s release.

“If the book does well, there will be even more interest in the film,” he added.

Archived article by Marc Zawel