Variety magazine reported on Sunday that Paramount Pictures and (appropriately) MTV Films have bought the film rights to the story of Joseph Frederick, the Alaska high school student who was suspended for unfurling a banner near his school saying "BONG HITS 4 JESUS." As reported previously, Frederick’s First Amendment challenge to the suspension reached the U.S. Supreme Court, resulting in a split decision that affirmed the school district’s decision.
The producers also bought film rights from Frank Frederick, the student’s father, and Doug Mertz, the local attorney who took his case and who will be the hero of the film.
No, wait — it’s the clients. "The tone is ‘Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,’" about a young man standing up for his rights," said Michael Shamberg, who with his partner Stacey Sher also produced "Erin Brockovich," about a young woman standing up for others’ rights, and "Freedom Writers," about somebody standing up for somebody’s rights in a film nobody saw. "Bong Hits" will also be about a father standing up for his son’s right to stand up for his rights — according to the article, Frank Frederick "would not force his son to drop the case, and he was fired from his job," although it wasn’t clear why an insurance adjuster would get fired over an unrelated First Amendment case.
Mr. Frederick and his son now teach English in China, where they have no free-speech rights to worry about.