Harmony Korine Set to Adapt Controversial Teacher-Student Sex Novel ‘Tampa’

Even by Korine's standards, the sexually charged novel is an extreme tale with one heck of an anti-heroine.

Harmony Korine

Harmony Korine

Harmony Korine has never hidden himself or his work from controversy, and now he looks to be out and out courting it with a new project he’s reportedly lining up.

Per The Playlist, “during a Q&A last night at the Miami Beach Cinematheque, Korine revealed he’s working on an adaptation of Alissa Nutting‘s controversial and acclaimed novel, ‘Tampa.'” Much like the recent indie outing “A Teacher,” the film follows a young female teacher who seduces a much younger student. While Hannah Fiddell’s beautifully drawn film was more focused on the emotional fallout of the relationship, Nutting’s book is much more sharp, charged and, frankly, just plain dangerous.

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Here’s the 2013 book’s official synopsis, which gives you some idea of what to expect:

“In Alissa Nutting’s novel ‘Tampa,’ Celeste Price, a smoldering 26-year-old middle-school teacher in Florida, unrepentantly recounts her elaborate and sociopathically determined seduction of a 14-year-old student.

Celeste has chosen and lured the charmingly modest Jack Patrick into her web. Jack is enthralled and in awe of his eighth-grade teacher, and, most importantly, willing to accept Celeste’s terms for a secret relationship—car rides after dark, rendezvous at Jack’s house while his single father works the late shift, and body-slamming erotic encounters in Celeste’s empty classroom. In slaking her sexual thirst, Celeste Price is remorseless and deviously free of hesitation, a monstress of pure motivation. She deceives everyone, is close to no one, and cares little for anything but her pleasure.

‘Tampa’ is a sexually explicit, virtuosically satirical, American Psycho–esque rendering of a monstrously misplaced but undeterrable desire. Laced with black humor and crackling sexualized prose, Alissa Nutting’s ‘Tampa’ is a grand, seriocomic examination of the want behind student / teacher affairs and a scorching literary debut.”

And just how perfect is Korine for the job? As The Playlist reminds, Slate editor Dan Kois wrote about the book in 2013, he included a call for action: “someone hire Harmony Korine to make the movie, ASAP.”

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Harmony Korine at the Miami Beach Cinematheque

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The film will also presumably offer up one hell of role for an actress. Celeste is ruthless, unrepentant and honestly terrifying, but she’s also vividly and expressively drawn on the page. She’s the kind of anti-heroine Korine could do great, horrifying things with.

“Tampa” is not expected to be Korine’s next project — and it might not even be a film, as he reportedly mentioned something about taking it to HBO — and he is next expected to shoot another Florida-set feature, followed possibly by his long-gestating “The Trap.”

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Korine is an extremely important artist of our time I’ll be lining up to watch anything he makes.

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