Adventure pic shares elements with 'LOTR'

Miramax Films and producer Jane Startz, who collaborated on the adaptation of Gail Carson Levine’s award-winning kids fantasy “Ella Enchanted,” are developing Levine’s next book, “The Two Princesses of Bamarre,” for the bigscreen. Mark Friedman has been tapped to write the screenplay.

“Bamarre” is an epic adventure that shares some of the fantasy elements of “The Lord of the Rings.” It’s the story of a timid young princess seeking to free her kingdom from a mysterious and deadly illness that threatens to take the life of her older sister, Meryl.

“Ella Enchanted,” which stars Anne Hathaway, is a retelling of the Cinderella story. Miramax will release it in April. Startz produced and Tommy O’Haver directed that pic.

“Gail is proving to be one of our most imaginative storytellers,” Startz said. “Her novels have sweep, adventure and heart and are distinguished by gutsy, clever, memorable young heroines.”

Bamarre is Friedman’s second project for Miramax. He also wrote “I Create the World,” an adaptation of the Didier van Cauwelaert novel, “The Education of a Fairy.”

Miramax exec veep of development and European production Julie Goldstein and senior veep of production and development Michelle Raimo are overseeing “Bamarre” for the mini-major.

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more