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Stiller set for ‘Bone,’ ‘Hardy’

Fox to produce action pic, comedy

With “There’s Something About Mary” still going strong at the box office, Ben Stiller is now set to star in “Monkey Bone” (formerly “Dark Town”) for Fox Animation Studios. Additionally, his Red Hour production banner has set up the comedy project “The Hardy Men” at Fox 2000.

Chris Columbus’ 1492 Pictures will produce and Henry Selick will helm “Monkey Bone,” based on a screenplay by Sam Hamm, who also will co-produce.

The comedy is a blend of live-action and animation. Much of the visual work has been done on the pic; the live-action production, featuring Stiller, starts in January. The project serves as one of the nontraditional animation projects that will be part of the mix Fox Animation topper Chris Meledandri intends to produce for the Fox banner. The division (formerly named Fox Family Films) has produced such pics as “Anastasia” and “Ever After.”

“Monkey Bone” tells of a neurotic cartoonist (Stiller) with a hit animated TV show, who winds up in a coma. He joins forces with one of his cartoon creations — Monkey Bone — to outwit Death and escape Dark Town, a purgatory-like place between life and death.

The Monkey Bone character, who serves as Stiller’s alter ego, will be created through CGI effects.

Hardy Boys grow up

Stiller, who is repped by UTA, has also set up “The Hardy Men” via his Red Hour Films, which has a first-look deal with Fox 2000. The comedy poses the question “Whatever happened to the Hardy Boys?”

Michael Sargent will pen the screenplay. Robert Kosberg, who brought the project to Red Hour, will produce with Stiller, George Linardos and Toper Taylor of Nelvana Entertainment who control the rights to the Hardy Boys books. Fox 2000 prexy Laura Ziskin and VP Carla Hacken will oversee the project for the studio.

Red Hour recently wrapped production on Donal Ward’s “The Suburbans.”

Red Hour was repped in the deal by UTA and attorneys Gang, Tyre, Ramer and Brown. Sargent’s deal was brokered by the William Morris Agency’s Michael Peretzian.

“Hardy Men” picks up with Frank and Joe Hardy 20 years later, when life outside of Bayport has been less than kind to the brothers, who haven’t spoken in years after a bitter argument.

Called back home by their ailing father, the erstwhile crime-fighting teens put their differences aside and re-team to solve the “Mystery of the Guru on the Hill.”

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