Finerman to produce 'Earthworm' creator's project

Ending a fierce bidding war, Fox-based Regency Enterprises has snapped up Doug TenNapel’s forthcoming graphic novel “Creature Tech” in a deal valued at high six figures against low seven figures.

The creator of the popular vidgame, toy line, and TV show “Earthworm Jim,” TenNapel’s newest adventure examines the interplay between science, religion and family.

Project is being produced by producer Wendy Finerman, who is currently producing “Drumline” for Fox 2000 Pictures. Repped in the deal by Ellen Goldmith-Vein’s newly re-formed The Gotham Group, pic also will be produced by Goldsmith-Vein and Gotham Group exec Peter McHugh.

Fantastical story is set in the rural American heartland, where the specter of an evil wizard uses the iconic shroud of Turin to conjure a giant space eel in an attempt to destroy the world. The only thing standing in his way is an atheist with an alien strapped to his chest.

Director of production Stacy Maes brought “Creature Tech” into Regency, where it will be overseen by production prexy Sanford Panitch.

Illustrator TenNapel’s “Creature” book is not yet published, but is due out next week from imprint Top Shelf Prods.

TenNapel’s other books include the popular Strange Kid Chronicles series: “Mighty Monday Madness,” “Tuna Fish Tuesday,” “Wisenheimer Wednesday,” et al.

“Creature” marks the second high-profile derby won by Regency in less than a year’s time: Last October, Regency won an intensely hot bidding competish with its $1.8 million push-to-production bid for David Benioff’s “Stay,” a supernatural thriller.

Regency is currently co-financing (with Warner Bros.) Darren Aronofsky’s sci-fi epic “The Fountain” starring Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett and Ellen Burstyn, and in the fall will start shooting “The Runaway Jury,” with Gary Fleder directing the John Grisham adaptation.

(Cathy Dunkley contributed to this report.)

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