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Monday, 8 April, 2002, 13:25 GMT 14:25 UK
Vanity project set for screen
Toby Young
Toby Young will write the screenplay himself
A UK journalist's hit account of flopping on the United States celebrity circuit has been snapped up by a film company.

Toby Young's book How to Lose Friends and Alienate People, about working for Vanity Fair magazine, was on the UK best-seller list for 22 weeks.

Vanity Fair
Young worked for Vanity Fair for almost two years
In it, he described how he was fired from the prestigious publication after a string of slip-ups that offended Hollywood stars as well as his editor.

The film rights have been bought by FilmFour, the Channel 4 offshoot which backed Trainspotting, East Is East and Sexy Beast.

Young will write the script himself, although no director and no stars have been signed up.

An Oxford graduate, Young moved to Manhattan to work for Vanity Fair after his mid-1990s popular culture magazine, The Modern Review, failed.

He wanted to infiltrate high US society, but was "as ungreat and ungood as he could manage", according to his former Modern Review cohort, Julie Burchill.

The book begins with Young talking his way into an Oscars party by pretending to be a friend of his, and goes on to describe a number of other audacious ventures.

Self-deprecating

He ordered a stripper for the office on the same day that all the staff had taken their young children to work, and was known for asking A-list actors about their sexual orientations.

It was "a championship-winning display of saying and doing the wrong thing", according to the Sunday Times.

They also described it as "the longest self-deprecating joke since the complete works of Woody Allen".

The film would be the "ultimate revenge" on his former employers, Young said.

"I fully expect to be admitted to the Vanity Fair Oscar party in 2004 clutching an Academy Award for best adapted screenplay."

'Acerbic wit'

Paul Webster, chief executive of FilmFour, said he was thrilled to have taken the project on.

"With his acerbic wit, Toby Young is the natural successor to Billy Wilder and IAL Diamond."

Many in the film industry say FilmFour is in need of a hit after many of its recent releases failed to make an impact at box offices.

See also:

11 Jan 02 | Film
Making films by the book
23 Jan 02 | TV and Radio
Giuliani's life to become movie
19 Dec 01 | Film
Boo.com collapse inspires film
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