Minkoff on short list of would-be helmers

HOLLYWOOD — Warner Bros. Pictures has tapped Gwyn Lurie to pen an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” Dahl’s estate championed Lurie after seeing her work on another Dahl adaptation, “BFG,” which is in development at Paramount Pictures.

Warners has eyed “Charlie” as a children’s film with blockbuster potential ever since the studio acquired the rights three years ago with Scott Frank (“Out of Sight”) attached to adapt. However, Frank’s script failed to spark.

Similarly, while Rob Minkoff (“Stuart Little 2″) remains on a short list of would-be directors, no helmer is attached.

Lurie will start from scratch on her adaptation of Dahl’s 1964 novel, which described a fantastical world in which a loony chocolatier tempted every child in London with the possibility of finding a golden ticket inside one of his bars. The five lucky winners were then entitled to a visit to his mysterious candy factory, one that would have lifelong repercussions for all involved.

Working from book

“I’m going to work straight from the original book and ignore the original movie,” Lurie said, referring to the 1971 film that starred Gene Wilder as factory owner Willy Wonka.

“It’s still going to be magical and as much of a fable as it ever was, but there’s much character development to be done. In a lot of ways, Dahl was trying to make a vituperative statement about Western culture, but it also shows that even a poor person who bites into chocolate feels rich.”

Brad Grey, Michael Siegel and Matt Baer are producing the pic for Brillstein-Grey Entertainment, with Warners exec VP Kevin McCormack supervising the project.

Repped by Endeavor, Lurie also penned “The Man Who Ate the 747″ for Bel-Air Entertainment.

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