Who would have thought four little words on a banner would have caused such a commotion. Varietyreports that Paramount and MTV films are hoping to cash in on some of the 'righteous indignation' over a young student whose high school suspension became a national free-speech debate. The deal was struck with Joseph Frederick (the student in question), his father Frank, and Doug Mertz, the local attorney who took his case. All three made life rights deals for the film.

In 2002, Frederick (along with several friends) held up a banner with the words 'Bong Hits 4 Jesus' during the Winter Olympics torch relay, passing through his home town of Juneau, Alaska. Even though he was not on school property at the time, his principal ordered that he be suspended from school for 10 days for supposedly violating their drug policy (c'mon, he wasn't even doing said 'bong hits' at the time!) Supported by family and friends, Frederick took his suit to the Supreme Court. The court ultimately ruled that "a school principal may, consistent with the First Amendment, restrict student speech at a school event when that speech is reasonably viewed as promoting illegal drug use".

Mark Poirier (Smart People) will write the script, but there is no word on a cast or director yet. Producer Michael Shamberg (who has already worked on true-life dramas like Erin Brockovich and World Trade Center) tells Variety, "The tone is 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,' about a young man standing up for his rights." He adds, "The heart of this story is the relationship between a father and son. Frank Frederick was an insurance adjuster facing the loss of his job if his son didn't back down" So even though they might have lost the case, no one is making a feature film about Frederick's principal, so I guess Frederick and family will get the last laugh after all. So, do you think the title will stand? And what in the world does 'Bong Hits 4 Jesus' have to do with the Winter Olympics?
categories Movies, Cinematical