NL nabs ‘Elf’ for Ferrell

Pic tells tale about man raised as an elf

New Line has paid low-five against a potential low-six figures for the broad comedy spec script “Elf,” penned by David Berenbaum, as a starring vehicle for Will Ferrell.

Ferrell is in negotiations for the “Elf” lead, in which he will play a man who is raised from infancy as an elf after accidentally falling into Santa’s gift sack during Christmas.

Story begins at the North Pole where he is inadvertently wreaking havoc on the elf community due to his ungainly size. As a result, Santa decides to send him to the U.S. in search of his true identity.

Jon Berg and Todd Komarnicki from production/management shingle Guy Walks Into a Bar will produce for New Line. Ferrell’s reps at the Gold/Miller Co. are also expected to take an as-yet unspecified producing role. New Line senior VP of production Kent Alterman brought the project into the company and will oversee its development and production with New Line creative exec Cale Boyter and Gold/Miller. As yet no director is attached to the project.

” ‘Elf’ is an idea that takes advantage of Will’s comedic sensibilities and offers him an opportunity to play a character who is completely naive, sincere and totally out of his element,” said Alterman.

Ferrell, known for his portrayals of a psychotically ebullient male cheerleader and his haltingly animatronic renderings of George W. Bush on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” will next appear in Paramount’s upcoming male model spoof “Zoolander,” written, directed and starring Ben Stiller. Along with Gold/Miller, Ferrell is also repped by UTA. Other feature credits include “The Ladies Man,” “Drowning Mona” and “A Night at the Roxbury.”

Berenbaum, repped by WMA and manager Berg, is in the Disney’s writers program, where he is also working on the Mouse House’s “The Haunted Mansion,” based on the studio’s theme park ride. Berenbaum is also in talks to pen another project for Disney.

Guy Walks Into a Bar is exec producing “Fat Chance” for Casey Silver’s U-based shingle Gone Fishin’ Prods. and exec producing “Number One Girl” for Mark Johnson and Intermedia.

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