Hiaasen's kid lit set for screen

New Line and Walden Media give a “Hoot,” pacting to produce a feature based on Carl Hiaasen’s award-winning children’s novel. Frank Marshall is on board to produce.

Hiaasen pal Jimmy Buffett will write original music for the pic and is serving as a producer.

Buffett and Hiaasen brought the book to Marshall, who’s producing through Kennedy/Marshall. They then developed the project at Walden, bringing in vet TV helmer Wil Shriner (“Everybody Loves Raymond”) to direct.

Script was written by Shriner and Rob Lieber, who also wrote fish-out-of-water comedy “Whitebread” for New Line. The studio recently tapped Marcus Reboy to direct “Whitebread.”

Book, which won kid lit nod the Newbery Medal in 2003, is the story of a boy in Florida who encounters a series of mysteries while trying to save a group of endangered owls.

Production is set to start in June. New Line will handle worldwide distribution.

Mark Kaufman and Michael Disco are overseeing the project for New Line. Doug Jones and Evan Turner are handling it at Walden.

Hiaasen’s novel “Skinny Dip” was optioned last year by Mike Nichols. Col’s 1996 release “Striptease” was based on the author’s novel.

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