'Holler' gets Aniston's attention

To produce drama with Screen Gems

Screen Gems and Jennifer Aniston are teaming up to tell a tale of lingering racial tensions in the Deep South.

The company has acquired "Holler" (aka "Mutt"), written by Dana Adam Shapiro. The film will be produced by Aniston's partner at Echo Films, Kristin Hahn, along with Tracey Durning. Aniston will executive produce with Jeff Mandel.

Inspired by true events, the script centers on a biracial high school student who returns with his white mother to her hometown in Mississippi, where he falls for a white girl. When prom season arrives at the high school, he is shocked to discover that she cannot be his date at the segregated prom. He soon finds himself the catalyst for change for not only the prom but for the school and entire town.

Screen Gems, which picked the script out of turnaround from Participant Pictures, is tapping into the zeitgeist with the story. HBO on Monday aired a documentary on the subject titled "Prom Night in Mississippi."

Screen Gems president Clint Culpepper and senior vp production Shannon Gaulding will oversee the project for the studio.

Shapiro is best known for co-directing the Oscar-nominated documentary "Murderball." He also wrote "The Every Boy," which is set up at Paramount with Plan B producing, and his animated short "My Biodegradable Heart" premiered at the 2007 Tribeca Film Festival. He is repped by RWSH Agency and Untitled Management.