'Speed Boyz' swerves toward Alcon

Michael Schiffer's pitch centers on real-life teacher

Twenty years later, screenwriter Michael Schiffer is heading back down the rough-and-tumble halls of high school.

In 1989, Schiffer's screenplay for "Lean on Me" became a Warner Bros. drama that starred Morgan Freeman as real-life, hard-nosed New Jersey high school principal Joe Clark. Now Schiffer has sold his pitch "Speed Boyz" to Alcon Entertainment, and it concerns real-life engineer-turned-teacher Simon Hauger, who inspired a group of troubled Philadelphia high schoolers to win a competition to build an alternative-fuel vehicle.

The pitch sale was in the mid-six-figure range.

The Gotham Group's Ellen Goldsmith-Vein and Lindsay Williams are producing along with Broderick Johnson and Andrew Kosove of Alcon. Gotham's Jeremy Bell and Alcon's Steven Wegner will exec produce.

Hauger, a math teacher, launched an unorthodox curriculum in 1998 to improve students' performance in math and science. The kids went on to win the annual Tour de Sol -- a national green car competition -- where they beat teams from top universities with their electric cars.

They are now competing for the $10 million Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize. All they have to do is build a really fast vehicle that gets 100 miles per gallon and cuts the standard car's carbon emissions in half while devising a business plan that can manufacture 10,000 autos per year by 2014.

Schiffer, repped by Gotham, also wrote the screenplays for "Colors," "Crimson Tide" and "The Peacemaker."

Among Gotham's projects are the comedy "The Devil You Know" in development at Fox and "Monster Zoo" in development at Paramount.

Alcon has the Warner Bros. releases "The Blind Side" and "The Book of Eli" hitting theaters in November and January, respectively.
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