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Lima to paw ‘Cats’

Toon helmer aboard long-gestating Fox pic

Animation helmer Kevin Lima (Disney’s “Tarzan” and “102 Dalmatians”) is coming aboard the long-gestating “Cat and Mouse” at 20th Century Fox.

Original script by Neil Tolkin (“The Emperor’s Club,” “Richie Rich”) concerned a cartoon mouse zapped into the human world to become a flesh-and-blood man. Things go awry when his nemesis, a cat from the cartoon world, appears and threatens to disrupt his new life.

Fox picked up the script, originally set up at TriStar Pictures, in turnaround in October 1999. It is now being rewritten by “Chicken Run” scribe Karey Kirkpatrick.

Andy Licht (“The Cable Guy”) and Jeff Mueller are producing the pic, with Howard Rosenman and Brad Grey exec producing the project, which has the original title of “Rupert and Murdoch.” Not surprisingly, that title has since changed at Fox. Fox production VP Vanessa Morrison will oversee its development for production prexy Hutch Parker.

Lima, who recently helmed the live-action/CGI “Cats and Dogs 2” for Warner Bros., was repped in the deal by Endeavor. He also helmed TV specials “Eloise at the Plaza” and “Eloise at Christmastime” for the Alphabet web, both based on the popular children’s books by Kay Thompson and illustrated by Hilary Knight.

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