The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys
The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys brings Chris Fuhrman's well-received, posthumously published teen novel to the screen. Set in the 1970s, the film concerns two rebellious Catholic schoolboys -- bashful, pensive Francis (Emile Hirsch) and whip-smart, impulsive Tim (Kieran Culkin) -- who spend their free time pulling elaborate pranks and creating a comic book featuring themselves and their friends, Wade (Jake Richardson) and Joey (Tyler Long), as superheroes. Their alter egos are brought to life in animated sequences by Spawn creator Todd McFarlane. Their grim, strict, one-legged teacher, Sister Assumpta (Jodie Foster), is drawn as a motorcycle-riding supervillain. Vincent D'Onofrio plays the more easygoing Father Casey. Egged on by Tim, Francis admits that he has a crush on Margie Flynn (Jena Malone). Tim encourages Francis to pursue Margie, at one point even sending her a mash note and signing his friend's name. Francis and Margie eventually begin seeing each other. But when Margie reveals a terrible, painful secret to Francis, it sets off a chain of events that leads to tragedy. The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys marks the feature debut of director Peter Care. It was screened at several festivals, including the 2002 Sundance Film Festival. The film sparked a small controversy at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival, where it was rejected, allegedly in retaliation for producer Foster's decision to forego heading up the fest's jury in order to replace Nicole Kidman in Panic Room.