Deal gives studio control of Pratchett's Bromeliad books

One the eve of the Cannes premiere of its computer-animated film “Shrek,” DreamWorks has acquired the screen rights to “Truckers,” “Diggers” and “Wings,” a series of bestselling fantasy novels that will form the basis of a computer-generated feature to be spearheaded by Andrew Adamson and Joe Stillman.

Adamson co-directed “Shrek,” and Stillman co-wrote the film, which DreamWorks bows on May 18 with the voices of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy and Cameron Diaz.

The deal, worth high-six figures against seven figures, gives the studio control of the novel series known as the Bromeliad Trilogy, written by prolific British author Terry Pratchett.

Focus on franchise

Though not as widely known in the U.S., Pratchett is one of the biggest-selling authors in Europe, with more than 23 million books sold worldwide. The hope is that the trilogy will be the basis for a series of films.

The first film, “Truckers,” will follow the adventures of a group of “nomes” who live in a department store until it gets demolished. They’re then forced to head into the outside world for the first time, discovering their alien origins.

The deal was made by DreamWorks principal Jeffrey Katzenberg.

“There are few authors whose work lends itself to animation as well as Terry Pratchett’s,” Katzenberg said. “His Bromeliad trilogy is a wonderful blend of fantasy and humor.”

Adamson was the ideal choice to supervise the computer-animation project, Katzenberg said, adding that he “brought an extraordinary level of ingenuity and enthusiasm to the production of ‘Shrek,’ and I am thrilled to have an opportunity to work with both him and Joe Stillman again.”

Wowed by ‘Works

Pratchett, whose deal was made by Created By, has been selective about entrusting his works to a Hollywood studio, but was swayed by DreamWorks.

“I liked ‘Chicken Run’ and ‘Galaxy Quest,’ and you’ve got to be impressed when someone from the studio phones up from Hollywood one night and turns up for lunch in Wiltshire, England, the very next day,” Pratchett said.

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