Sanders producing untitled music-driven film

Walt Disney Pictures has set Steven Antin to write and direct an untitled music-driven project that Scott Sanders will produce under his first-look deal at the studio.

A bigscreen newcomer, Sanders is well known in stage and music circles. He most recently developed and was lead producer on hit musical “The Color Purple” and collaborated with Queen Latifah in a music partnership to record and produce Grammy-nominated disc “The Dana Owens Album.”

Sanders drew a Disney deal after working with Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group production president Oren Aviv on projects that go back to ad campaigns Aviv developed at Grey Advertising for Radio City Music Hall while Sanders was exec veep and exec director of the venue. When he set Scott Sanders Prods. at Disney with Aviv last year, Sanders simultaneously pacted for stage productions with a private equity investment group that includes New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, David Kraft and investment bankers Roy Furman and Jim Fantaci.

For his first Disney project, Sanders turned to Antin, with whom he worked on the TV series “Young Americans.” Antin’s script credits include “Gloria” and “Chasing Papi,” and he was exec producer of TV series “The Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search for the Next Doll.”

Antin said the title and plot of the musical were being kept under wraps at the request of Disney.

“It’s a music-driven movie set in a high school, geared toward a Disney audience,” he said. Antin has written much of the screenplay, and the project becomes a candidate, along with the Screen Gems musical “Burlesque,” to be the film he directs in the fall.

“It is neck and neck right now, as ‘Burlesque’ just got a rewrite from Diablo Cody and the script is really strong,” said Antin, who wrote the original draft of “Burlesque.”

Sanders said the goal of the Disney musical is to discover new talent, as he and Antin did on “Young Americans.”

Mara Jacobs will be exec producer.

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