'High Fidelity' writer, director may reteam

Stephen Frears eyeing dramedy penned by D.V. DeVincentis

Call it higher fidelity.

Stephen Frears and D.V. DeVincentis, who teamed up on the John Cusack breakout "High Fidelity," could be joining forces again.

DeVincentis is writing and Frears is attached to direct "Lay the Favorite," a dramedy set in the world of geeky gamblers that's set up at Focus Features.

The project is based on Beth Raymer's upcoming memoir "Lay the Favorite, Take the Dog," which Random House is set to publish in the spring. The pic springs from and is a co-production with RH Films, Focus' label with book-publishing giant Random House.

Raymer's memoir is set amid a group of fiftyish math geeks who figure out how to work the sportsbook system in Las Vegas for their own profit. It centers on a woman in her early thirties who has made a series of bad choices but achieves a redemption of sorts when she meets and then becomes involved with the gamblers.

"It's a less violent, less sketchy version of the mob," DeVincentis said of the colorful gamblers, who are based on real people. "This is the version of 50-year-old math geeks from Queens in basketball shorts who have pet guinea pigs."

Both Frears and DeVincentis solidified their reputation with the 2000 Touchstone title "High Fidelity," the adaptation of Nick Hornby's book about the relationship struggles of a man-child who sees the world in terms of lists and musical preferences.

While the projects have plenty of differences, both films deal with the tribulations of adulthood as well as with the appeal and perils of living in an insular world.  Like the record store snobs of "High Fidelity," the gamblers of “Favorite” "have an intense pride in a very specific expertise -- and a lack of socialization," DeVincentis said.

The ICM- and Casarotto Ramsay-repped Frears is currently working on the coming-home drama "Tamara Drewe." In addition to working on a draft of "Favorite," the UTA- and Management 360-repped DeVincentis has recently signed on to write "You Are a Miserable Excuse for a Hero," the Mandate project based on a "Choose Your Own Adventure" novel.

RH Films, overseen by Focus topper James Schamus and longtime Random House editor and television writer Peter Gethers, currently has a number of projects in development, including pics based on the Ross Macdonald mystery "The Galton Case" and the Dean Koontz thriller "The Husband."
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