Bestselling kids book being developed into family comedy
21 Laps will develop and produce the project. The Jim Henson Co. holds the film rights to the story and is assigning them to Fox. Judith Viorst’s book has never been made into a feature, although it was used as the basis for a half-hour, animated musical that aired on HBO in 1990. In 1998, Viorst and the Kennedy Center teamed on a musical production, with Viorst writing the music and lyrics. Shelly Markham composed the score. Lisa Henson, repping the Henson Co., brought the project to 21 Laps because of the shingle’s experience with family films. Shingle’s producing credits include both “Night at the Museum” films, which Levy directed for Fox. Insiders say Levy won’t necessarily direct “Alexander.” Rob Lieber (“Septimus Heap: Magyk”) will pen the adapted screenplay, which revolves around family members collectively enduring the worst day of their lives. In the book, the central character, Alexander’s day goes from bad to worse after he wakes up with gum in his hair. The young boy gets so frustrated that by bedtime, he threatens to move to Australia. There are multiple characters in Viorst’s book, including Alexander’s two older brothers, Nick and Anthony. Feature film will be overseen by 21 Laps prexy Dan Levine and creative exec Missy Foster. Jason Lust is exec producing. First published in 1972 by Atheneum, “Alexander” has sold north of four million copies over the course of 59 printings, with seven editions published abroad. It also has won the American Library Assn. Notable Children’s Book award and been named one of the all-time bestselling paperback children’s books by the New York Times. Viorst penned two other titles in the “Alexander” series. Levy is currently shooting robot boxing pic “Cowboys and Aliens” for DreamWorks. Levy is repped by WME; Lieber, UTA and Anonymous Content.