Media company nabs Venokur's comedy
Walden Media has found its “Inner Child,” snapping up Ross Venokur’s comedy pitch as part of its move to expand beyond adaptations of kidlit and into broad comedies.Walden acquired Venokur’s pitch in a preemptive purchase. Story centers on a disparaging self-help guru whose approach is to squelch the dreams of his followers. When he discovers his license to practice is in jeopardy as he has failed to complete his own mandated time on the couch, he sets out to hastily complete his missing hours, only to have his own inner child wreak havoc. Deal is the first made at Walden by co-CEO Michael Bostick, who joined Walden a few weeks ago after seven years of heading Tom Shadyac’s Shady Acres Entertainment. Bostick, whose credits include “Bruce Almighty,” “Liar Liar” and “Evan Almighty,” told Daily Variety that “Inner Child” is being fast-tracked by the shingle. He also said the purchase represents a first step in expanding the Walden brand — which includes “Nim’s Island” and “The Chronicles of Narnia” franchise — while noting that the pic will still carry a PG rating. Venokur sold “All Boxed Up” as a pitch to New Line and “The Eighth Wonder” as a pitch to Universal, with Benderspink producing both. He began his career as a children’s book author.