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Fantasy in WB future

Studio laps up Lasky's 'Guardians' books

Warner Bros. has acquired film rights to Kathryn Lasky’s children’s fantasy series “Guardians of Ga’Hoole” and set it up as a CGI animation film with Donald De Line producing.

“Guardians” is De Line’s maiden project for Warner Bros. since signing a three-year first-look deal in April.

Lasky’s seven-book series revolves around a parallel universe featuring a cast of owls and magic transformations. The first book begins with a young barn owl being pushed out of his family’s nest by his older brother and then being rescued by agents from a mysterious school for orphaned owls.

Lasky will pen the screenplay and exec produce. She’s written more than 50 books, including “Marven of the Great North Woods,” “Beyond the Burning Time,” “Memoirs of a Bookbat” and “A Brilliant Streak: The Making of Mark Twain.”

Warner Bros. Animation prexy Sander Schwartz will supervise “Guardians” and Lionel Wigram is the WB Pictures production exec overseeing the project.

Warner’s animation arm has a pair of CGI films in production for release in 2006 — “Ant Bully,” from Playtone, and penguin tale “Happy Feet,” from Village Roadshow.

De Line signed with Warner after spending 14 months as prexy of Paramount, where he and former studio chief Sherry Lansing assembled Par’s summer slate, which includes “The Longest Yard,” “War of the Worlds” and “Bad News Bears.” His producer credits include “The Italian Job” and “Without a Paddle.”

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