‘Screwtape’ attaches Walden

More Lewis for Anschutz

Ralph Winter Prods. is producing a bigscreen adaptation of the C.S. Lewis novel “The Screwtape Letters” with Philip Anschutz’s Walden Media.

Pic will be produced via Walden’s Bristol Bay Prods. banner (“Ray,” “Sahara”).

Pic, which Walden hopes to release in 2008, is the company’s second Lewis collaboration following “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” which grossed $744 million worldwide. The sequel to that pic, “Prince Caspian,” is due out next year.

Like “Narnia,” “The Screwtape Letters” — which is described as a midbudget, primarily live-action pic — embodies Christian themes.

First published in 1942, “The Screwtape Letters” takes the form of a series of missives from a senior demon, Screwtape, to his wannabe diabolical nephew, Wormwood. As a mentor, Screwtape advises his protege on the finer points of undermining faith and promoting sin. His instructions are interspersed with observations on human nature and Christian doctrine.

Since taking over the publishing of “The Screwtape Letters” in 2001, HarperSanFrancisco has sold almost 1 million copies of the trade paperback alone.

Producing are Ralph Winter, Randy Argue and Lewis’ stepson Douglas Gresham.

Susana Zepeda, prexy of Ralph Winter Prods., is co-producing and shepherding the project for the company.

Walden execs on the project are exec VP of production Alex Schwartz, senior VP of production Jackie Levine and creative exec Bonnie Solomon.

Fox-based Ralph Winter Prods. produced Fox’s tentpole “The Fantastic Four” as well as the sequel, “Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer,” due out this summer. Shingle also is producing “Straight and Narrow” at New Regency, which Donald Petrie is attached to direct, as well as the comedy “We Are Family” at Fox.

Walden’s recent releases include “How to Eat Fried Worms,” released by New Line, and “Charlotte’s Web,” released by Paramount.

ICM negotiated the deal on behalf of Winter and Argue.

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