Producers Lawrence Bender and Karen Barber have signed a two-pic deal with Nickelodeon Movies to bring Jeff Stone’s adventure book series “The Five Ancestors” to the bigscreen.
Deal marks Bender’s first foray into the family film market after making a name for himself working with cult director Quentin Tarantino.
“This important alliance with Lawrence re-emphasizes Nick Movies’ commitment to deliver groundbreaking, edgy fare into the family marketplace,” said Nick Movies senior VP Julia Pistor.
“The Five Ancestors” will be adapted from Stone’s seven-book series, published by Random House. The first two installments — “Tiger” and “Monkey” — were released last year, with another installment, titled “Snake,” due in March.
Set in 17th-century China, the series follows the adventures of five young monks, each of whom specializes in a different style of “animal” kung fu. After a rebel brother monk leads an attack on their secret temple, the monks are forced to flee and must rely on their training and instincts to survive.
Pistor, Bender and Barber are producing. Andy Cohen of Grade A Entertainment brought the books to Bender and will serve as executive producer. Cohen also recently sold “Magic Kingdom for Sale” to Universal and “Miracle Cars” to New Line.
As part of the deal, Bender and Barber also will produce a CGI feature, “Holy Cow.” The project, penned by Ted Grennan and Peter Kalmbach, centers on the tale of a young bull from Montana named Bamboo who befriends a caterpillar that tells him of a place called India, where cows are sacred, free and holy. The two embark on a journey, and find the country while outwitting a group of pesky chickens.
“I have wanted to break into the family genre for a long time now, and what better way than partnering with Nick Movies,” Bender said. “It was Karen Barber’s mandate to bring in this type of material, and she hit a home run with these projects.”
Bender’s producing credits include “Reservoir Dogs,” “Kill Bill,” “Pulp Fiction,” “Fresh,” “Jackie Brown,” “Four Rooms,” “From Dusk Till Dawn,” “White Man’s Burden” and “Anna and the King.”
Nick Movies has “Nacho Libre” in production. That film, penned by Jared Hess and Mike White, stars Jack Black.