Steve Carell will portray Miami local David Menasche in the film adaptation of the book The Priority List: A Teacher's Final Quest to Discover Life's Greatest Lessons. Warner Bros. bought the rights to the memoir, which focuses on Menasche's six-year battle with brain cancer and his journey to live in the present and find peace with his illness.
Menasche, who is still living, was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2006, when he was told he'd have only months to live. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Menasche prolonged his life through various surgeries and chemotherapy, but in 2012, a seizure led to him ending his teaching career at Coral Reef Senior High School. The loss launched him into a cross-country trip to visit 75 of his former students to see what kind of influence his teachings had on their lives.
The trip itself, which began November 2012 and ended February 2013, spanned more than 8,000 miles between 31 cities and lasted a whopping 101 days.
Menasche called the trip a "vision quest," and in an interview with New Times Broward-Palm Beach in 2013, he said the quest was all about finding himself again.
"The purpose of the trip was to regain what brain cancer took from me," he said. "Basically, my classroom."
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One of his former students, Lidia Dinkova, wrote an article about Menasche's trip that was published in the Miami Herald, prompting networks and USA Today to contact him to learn more about his inspiring story.
"CBS and NBC did some small things on me following that," he said. The interest in his story prompted Brandi Bowles of Boundary Media to contact him, leading to the development of a book proposal. The book was released January 14, 2013.
Now, The Priority List will be produced by Carell and Carousel Productions' members Vance DeGeneres and Charlie Hartsock. With Carell at the helm, the film promises to be a funny, heartwarming, honest tale that would make any teaching hero proud.