Par fills ‘Cupboard’

While the uncertainty of ownership is a burden on Paramount’s creative process, it can hardly be detected by the volume of product being hatched there.

The newest batch is from Kennedy/Marshall Prods., where Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall are ready to start production on two high-profile pix and have seven other live-action and animated projects in the wings. All are developed from books.

The first to shoot will be “Indian in the Cupboard,” an adaptation of the Lynne Reid Bank novel that has been scripted by Melissa Mathison (“E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial”) and will begin shooting this spring. In addition, Marshall will direct a long-awaited adaptation of the Michael Crichton novel “Congo” this fall.

Marshall, a member of the board of directors of the U.S. Olympic Committee, is in Norway for the Winter Olympics.

He’ll travel to Africa this week to scout “Congo” locations. The script was written by Mike Backes, who co-wrote “Rising Sun,” and will be produced by Kennedy and Sam Mercer. Frank Yablans, who owned the project long ago, will serve as execproducer, and “Jurassic Park’s” Stan Winston will supervise the special effects.

Kennedy and Marshall, who were associated with Steven Spielberg when he formed Amblin Entertainment, are also doing three animated projects with Nelvana Communications: “The Thief of Always,” based on the Clive Barker novel; “The Sign of the Seahorse,” based on Graeme Base’s book; and “The Trumpet of the Swan ,” based on the E.B. White book.

Other projects include “Hopeful Monsters,” based on the Nicholas Mosley novel , which is being scripted by Tom Stoppard; and the C.S. Lewis novel “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” the first installment of Lewis’ classic children’s series, “The Chronicles of Narnia.” The script is being written by Menno Meyjes, an Oscar nominee for “The Color Purple.” J.G. Ballard’s novella “Running Wild” is being adapted by David Leland (“Wish You Were Here”), who will direct.

Kennedy and Marshall will also develop a movie around the Frank Bama character from Jimmy Buffett’s novels “Where Is Joe Merchant” and the upcoming “Daybreak at the Equator.”

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