Comic-Con 2012: 'My Friend Dahmer' Getting Big-Screen Treatment (Exclusive)

The project will be based on the graphic novel by John "Derf" Backderf that follows Jeffrey Dahmer from age 12 to the day he kills his first victim.

Ibid Filmworks producing partners Marc Meyers and Jody Girgenti have picked up the rights to My Friend Dahmer, the acclaimed and disturbing autobiographical graphic novel by John "Derf" Backderf. Adam Goldworm of Aperture Entertainment will also produce.

Released earlier in March by Abrams ComicArts, the tome follows Jeffrey Dahmer from age 12, when he was a shy, bespectacled kid, right up to the day he kills his first victim two weeks after high school graduation.

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It’s set in a bizarre world of 1970s suburbia, where the future serial killer is a troubled teenager, slowly descending into darkness as his divorcing parents, high school teachers, and peers stand by and do nothing.

The graphic novel was told through the perspective of his then-friend Backderf, a fellow oddball, and was praised for being sympathetic yet unflinching. Backderf is now a political cartoonist who has been twice nominated for an Eisner Award and won the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award for his political cartoons.

Dahmer is a compelling subject – Jeremy Renner portrayed the man in a 2002 indie and received an Indie Spirit Award, launching his career – but the producers are not making a horror movie here as much as coming-of-age tale of teenagers teetering on the abyss. Welcome to the Dollhouse and Dazed and Confused via Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer are the touchstones.

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Meyers wrote and directed Harvest, a coming-of-age drama which Girgenti produced. Meyers was also part of the team behind the 9/11-themed doc Witnessing that premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, and aired on MSNBC. Girgenti was previously an original programming executive at AMC, where she was an integral part of the development team responsible for the inaugural slate of scripted shows, starting with Mad Men.

Goldworm is is one of the producers on Lore, set up at Warner Bros. with Dwayne Johnson attached to star and based on the IDW comic book, and has The Last Witch Hunter at Summit.

Backderf was repped by Carnicelli Literary Management in the deal.