Chubby teens are in this year (see Hairspray), and so are unwanted pregnancies (see Knocked Up, Waitress, and Juno). As an antidote to all that comedy, Variety reports that the bestselling novel Push -- about an overweight, HIV-positive Harlem girl who's pregnant as the result of incest -- will be made into a film next year.

Not surprisingly, it will be an independent production, directed by Lee Daniels (pictured), whose recent film Shadowboxer was his directorial debut. Before that, he was producer on heavy fare like Monster's Ball and The Woodsman. So the guy isn't afraid of difficult subject matter. (The New York Times ran a fascinating story about him last July.)

The book was written by Ramona Lofton under the pseudonym Sapphire and was published in 1996. It tells of an African-American teen named Clareece "Precious" Jones whose miserable life starts to look up when a teacher takes an interest in her. Paula Patton (Idlewild, Deja Vu) will play the teacher; a newcomer named Gabourey Sidibe -- who auditioned among 300 other girls -- will play Precious. Mo'nique plays her wretched mother, and Lenny Kravitz plays a kindly nurse who helps Precious.

I haven't read Push, but the descriptions of its content are pretty harrowing. The girl is illiterate ... bullied by her mother ... she has HIV ... she's pregnant for the second time with her own father's child ... yikes. I have to assume there's some kind of redemption in the end...? A light at the end of the tunnel...? And if Daniels and the cast -- especially this newcomer Gabourey Sidibe -- can pull it off, it could be a powerful film.