‘Terabithia’ director chases ‘Moon’

Goudge novel basis for family fantasy film

Following “Bridge to Terabithia,” Gabor Csupo has lined up a pair of live-action family fantasies as his next directing projects — “The Moon Princess” and “The White Giraffe,” with AnnaSophia Robb attached to topline the latter pic for Walden Media.

“The Moon Princess,” likely to shoot this summer as a U.K.-Hungarian co-production, is based on Elizabeth Goudge’s 1946 children’s book “The Little White Horse.” It’s the story of a 13-year-old’s adventure into a magical world from which she must banish an ancient curse.

Colin Firth is set to star as the girl’s eccentric uncle, with other cast yet to be announced. The U.K.’s Spice Factory, U.S./Australian shingle Forgan-Smith Entertainment and Csupo’s own Grand Allure Entertainment are producing, with London-based sales outfit Velvet Octopus brokering the financing for the $25 million project and handling worldwide sales.

Lucy Shuttleworth and Graham Alborough have penned the adaptation of “The Moon Princess,” developed with funding from the Australian Film Commission. Csupo, co-founder of animation studio Klasky Csupo and producer of “The Rugrats” and “The Wild Thornberries,” made his feature directing debut with Walden Media’s “Bridge to Terabithia,” which grossed $81 million in the U.S. and has added $27 million at the early stage of its international rollout.

As for “The White Giraffe,” Walden has optioned feature rights to Lauren St. John’s forthcoming children’s book to be released by Dial Books for Young Readers/Walden Media next month. The film will be released by 20th Century Fox and Walden Media through their Fox Walden banner.

“Giraffe” centers on a young heroine being transplanted from England to a wildlife preserve in South Africa to live with a grandmother she never knew she had, after the death of her parents. After she arrives, she discovers a mythical white giraffe and tries to unlock the mystery of why everyone’s keeping the giraffe a secret.

“The White Giraffe,” St. John’s first children’s book, was originally released in the U.K. last August. Story was inspired by her childhood in Zimbabwe, where she had a pet giraffe, as well as numerous dogs, horses and warthogs.

Robb’s other credits include “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “The Reaping.”

St. John is repped by Valerie Hoskins Associates and Felicity Bryan Literary Agency. Csupo is repped Endeavor, and Robb by CESD Agency and Untitled Entertainment.

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