Venokur will pen musical screenplay

Disney has paid mid-six figures to pick up the rights to the children’s book “Cindy Ellen: A Wild Western Cinderella” penned by Susan Lowell, to be developed as a musical feature for the studio.

Ross Venokur will pen screenplay, provisionally titled “Once Upon a Prairie.”

Pic, based on a new take on the book, will be produced by Andrew Gunn and Ann Marie Sanderlin through Dis-based Gunn Films. Idea for the musical originated with Gunn’s wife Julia Gunn.

“Prairie” is a Western twist on the classic Cinderella tale about a young tomboy who wants to be a rodeo star.

When a ranching accident claims her father’s life, Cinda’s stepmother puts the family in financial jeopardy by selling off everything to pay for clothes and jewels for her and her own daughters.

In order to pay off the debt and win the ranch back, Cinda decides to enter the rodeo disguised as a boy. Whilst in disguise, she meets the son of a rich family who asks her for rodeo lessons, and the pair end up falling in love.

Project will be overseen by Disney execs Kristin Burr and Louanne Brickhouse.

Venokur is repped by CAA.

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