Gotham Group, Elmo puppeteer to produce film

The classic Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls are heading for the bigscreen as a musical comedy via a producing partnership between The Gotham Group and puppeteer Kevin Clash.

Project aims to take the dolls — created by Johnny Gruelle for his daughter Marcella — into a contemporary, live-action setting with celebrity cameos accompanying them on their journey. Pic will blend puppetry and CG to bring the characters to life.

Ellen Goldsmith-Vein and Eric Robinson are producing for Gotham Group.

Story, based on the classic storybook “Raggedy Ann and Andy and the Camel With Wrinkled Knees,” centers on the dolls being lost in a modern-day city and possibly having to save a stolen friend from the clutches of a scheming enemy.

Greulle created the characters in a series of books he wrote and illustrated for young children and center on a pair of rag dolls with red yarn for hair. Raggedy Ann was created in 1915 as a doll and introduced in the 1918 book “Raggedy Ann Stories.” Raggedy Andy was introduced two years later as her brother, dressed in sailor suit and hat.

The dolls were first featured on the bigscreen in 1941′s animated 17-minute film “Raggedy Ann and Raggedy Andy” and on TV in 1978 in “Raggedy Ann and Andy in The Great Santa Claus Caper.”

Clash’s characters include Elmo, Baby Sinclair, Clifford, Splinter and Hoots the Owl. He wrote an autobiography titled “My Life as a Furry Red Monster: What Being Elmo Has Taught Me About Life, Love and Laughing Out Loud” in 2006 and was the subject of Constance Marks’ 2011 documentary “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey.”

Gotham Group’s feature producing credits include “Abduction” and “The Spiderwick Chronicles.” It is teamed with 1stAveMachine on developing sci-fi feature “Prosthesis” for Universal, with Arvind Palep directing.

Clash is repped by WME.

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