Disney signs with John Lee Hancock

Director set for 'Electric Boy Genius' biopic

Disney execs haven’t been shy about saying that the Mouse House should have made “The Blind Side.”

Since the feel-good football drama scored at the box office for Alcon Entertainment and Warner Bros., Disney has locked down “Blind Side” producer Gil Netter in a first-look deal, and now it has hired its helmer, John Lee Hancock, to direct biopic “Electric Boy Genius.”

The deal is the latest sign of how Disney is aggressively zeroing in on talent it wants to work with since Disney Studios topper Rich Ross and production chief Sean Bailey took over last year.

In addition to launching more Marvel superheroes, adding DreamWorks pics to the pipeline and bringing back the Muppets, the studio has recruited Tim Burton, Sam Raimi,Guillermo del Toro, David Fincher and Robert Downey Jr., among others, to shepherd or headline high-profile projects.

Hancock previously directed “The Rookie” and “The Alamo,” which he also wrote, for the studio.

Doug Wright (“Quills”) is penning the script for “Electric Boy Genius,” based on a 2002 GQ article, that profiled Ryan Patterson, a wunderkind of electricity who won the Intl. Science and Engineering Fair in 2001.

Andrew Corsello wrote the story.

Gordon Gray and Mark Ciardi, who produced Disney’s latest outing, “Secretariat,” will produce the project.

Despite the studio’s focus on family franchises and Disney-branded fare, Ross and Bailey are still keen on developing dramas like “Secretariat” and “The Blind Side.” Those kind of lower budgeted pics can have broad appeal to adults and kids, and also give the company prestige players for awards season.

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