‘Juno’ finds its Mandate

Novick to produce teen pic

Mandate Pictures will finance, develop and handle worldwide distribution rights for “Juno,” the screenwriting debut of Minneapolis-based writer Diablo Cody.

In the vein of “Napoleon Dynamite,” project is a heartwarming, funny story about the difficult decisions a teen must make when faced with an unplanned pregnancy.

Mason Novick (Wes Craven’s upcoming “Red Eye”) will produce. Mandate’s Joe Drake and Nathan Kahane will exec produce.

Jim Miller brought the project to Mandate and will oversee the pic for the company.

Novick first came across Cody on her Internet blog and was impressed by her knack for comedic storytelling. When he discovered she’d written a novel, he helped her secure a literary agent. Cody’s memoir “Candy Girl” will be published by Gotham next year.

Cody also works as a columnist for the Minneapolis City Paper.

Mandate’s upcoming pics include Marc Forster’s “Stranger Than Fiction,” starring Will Ferrell and Maggie Gyllenhaal; Takashi Shimizu’s “The Grudge 2”; and, through Ghost House Pictures, Mandate’s jointly owned label with Sam Raimiand Rob Tapert, Sebastian Gutierrez’s “Rise,” starring Lucy Liu, and an untitled horror project by Danny and Oxide Pang.

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