Robinson steels for ‘Wheels’

'Gentleman' scribe hired to pen toy story

HOLLYWOOD — James Robinson has been hired to write the “Hot Wheels” script for director McG and Columbia Pictures.

Robinson, who wrote the upcoming “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” for 20th Century Fox, will turn Mattel’s familiar diecast cars into the subject of a live-action feature boasting full-size roadsters. Details of Robinson’s take are still being worked out.

Col is placing big summer wagers on the appeal of fast cars. Planned for summer 2004 is “RPM,” which revolves around a Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid-like pair of outlaws who are among racers tooling around Europe in Maseratis, Aston-Martins, Lamborghinis and Ferraris.

“Hot Wheels” is viewed as a summer 2005 tentpole release.

Producers John Baldecchi and Jason Hoffs lead plans for creating “Hot Wheels” with Col prexy Peter Schlessel. Pic is an Endeavor package.

Senior VP of production Andrea Giannetti will oversee development. Stephanie Savage, McG’s partner at Wonderland, will serve as executive producer.

Sony closed its deal with Mattel on the “Hot Wheels” property in January — the first time Mattel allowed the 35-year-old brand to be optioned for a feature.

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