'Mouse' helm Verbinski takes reins of offbeat comedy

Warner Bros.-based producer Billy Gerber has optioned William Monahan’s manuscript, “The Lighthouse,” which the first-time author will adapt and “Mouse Hunt” helmer Gore Verbinski is attached to direct.

Verbinski also will executive produce the project, which Gerber optioned out of his WB-funded discretionary fund. Eric Newman in Gerber’s office brought the project into the company and will co-produce.

Monahan’s unpublished first novel is an offbeat comedy about a failed artist on the lam from the mob. He takes refuse in a seaside bed-and-breakfast (near a lighthouse) that is filled with eccentric characters as a noreaster blows in.

“The Lighthouse” currently is on submission to publishers. Monahan is a former editor at Spy magazine.

Bill Contardi of the William Morris Agency’s New York office brokered Monahan’s deal on behalf of Monahan’s lit agent, William Clark of the Vines Literary Agency.

Morris’ Spencer Baumgarten and attorney Warren Dern of Nelson, Guggenheim, Felker and Levine repped Verbinski, who made his feature helming debut with “Mouse Hunt” for DreamWorks.

(Dan Cox contributed to this report.)

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