Junior Lauren Smith stars in the movie poster for “The List.” Photo: Meghna Singha

This past weekend, anxiety and excitement erupted within the Pace community, as rumors about producing “The List” as a motion picture have spread. “The List” is a young adult novel published in July 2020 by Pace moms of the Class of 2022 under the pen name Kelsey Mercer Grant. 

This news remains a secret to many, so here’s the truth. “The List,” a movie full of infantile drama, teenage love, cat fights and high school dances will be coming to theaters near you in July 2021. This date marks the one-year anniversary of this New York Times best-selling novel that nearly every Hollywood producer vied to get their hands. And the lucky winner of the movie rights is Academy Award-winning director and producer Quentin Tarantino, a man known for his heartfelt, teenage love story films.

What does it take for a novel to turn into a motion picture? Great writing, a compelling plot line and a relatable character list. With numerous spelling and grammar mistakes, a cliché storyline about a shy bombshell’s determination to see herself as beautiful inside and out, and a multitude of bland characters, “The List” is clearly a match made in heaven for a Hollywood blockbuster. “I’m especially excited to see this movie, as I’ve struggled in the past with the Pre-Debutante Cotillion (PDC)” said senior Casey Shoulberg. “A relatable film, one that will help me cope with the divisiveness I faced my freshman year, is refreshing and inspiring.”

Due to “The List” being a feature film based on Pace students’ lives and their preparations for the PDC, questions have arisen about who will appear as each character, especially the lead, Kelsey Grant. Tarantino recently visited Atlanta to get a glimpse into the drama that his upcoming movie will showcase. 

Time spent at Pace convinced Tarantino that students in the Pace theatre program would make an excellent cast. US Visual & Performing Arts Department Chairperson Sean Bryan will take on the role of casting director. “At Pace, we have taken on powerful productions like ‘West Side Story’ and ‘The Laramie Project,’” said Mr. Bryan. “Therefore, I couldn’t imagine a better, more influential novel to adapt into a screenplay than ‘The List.’” According to a description of the novel on Amazon, the moms who authored “The List” agree, as they initially “intended to produce a screenplay since this story deserves to be viewed as a major motion picture.”

Vying for the lead role of shy teenager Kelsey Grant are the crowned jewels of the Pace theater program: senior Audrey Holton, junior Lauren Smith and freshman Hannah White. “I’ve always dreamt of taking on this role, especially after I read ‘The List’ script,” said Holton. “I truly believe this movie might be my big break, a chance for me to make it to Hollywood.”

With scenes taking place at Pace, school will be dismissed two weeks early in May to prevent spoiler alerts. Tarantino also plans to shoot scenes at Lenox Mall, West Paces Ferry Shopping Center and the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Tarantino has also mentioned hiring a film crew to crash a 2021 Pre-Debutante Cotillion to get an inside glimpse into the dance scene.

What’s most exciting about this upcoming movie is that the mom writers are planning on revealing who they are on the release date, after formerly claiming that they “will not make [their] real names known for many years to come.”


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