Phoenix rings in ‘Belltown’ tomes

'Secrets' headed to TV, theaters

NEW YORK — Phoenix Pictures has inked a pact with Encounter Studios to develop and produce author T.M. Murphy’s book series “The Secrets of Belltown” for television, as well as for DVD and a possible theatrical property.

“Belltown” is an action-adventure series centering on 13-year-old sleuth Orville Jacques and his difficulties solving everyday teen problems as well as crimes in a small Cape Cod town.

There are eight books in Murphy’s series, which was initially published exclusively in Massachusetts, where it sold more than 100,000 copies and became part of the state’s English curriculum. Encounter subsequently picked up publishing rights to the property with plans for a national rollout.

Phoenix’s Mike Medavoy and Arnold Messer will produce the small-screen, and possible bigscreen, adaptations, along with Encounter prexy-CEO Shannon Murphy.

Phoenix creative exec Anne Rodman is overseeing development.

“I first came across the books while shooting a film in Massachusetts and was so impressed with the original, enjoyable and insightful way that T.M. Murphy wrote for kids and teenagers that I acquired the rights immediately,” said Encounter’s Murphy, whose producing credits include “The Retreat,” as well as the upcoming pic “Constellation,” starring Zoe Saldana, Gabrielle Union, Lesley Ann Warren and Billy Dee Williams.

Phoenix’s upcoming releases include “Stealth” and “All the King’s Men,” both for Sony, as well as David Fincher’s “Zodiac” for Warner Bros. and Paramount.

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