Long-gestating family laffer comes back to life with 'Dynamite' helmer

Disney and producer Scott Rudin are getting an old pet project back up and running, tapping “Napoleon Dynamite” director Jared Hess to helm the long-gestating sci-fi family comedy “The Pet.”

Rudin, who moved his production shingle from Disney last year over to Sony, is producing the live-action pic alongside Craig Perry and Sheila Hanahan Taylor.

Based on an original idea from Matt Lieberman (“Short Circuit”), “The Pet” centers on a man who’s abducted by aliens, taken to their planet and turned into a family pet.

Rudin originally boarded “The Pet” years ago at Disney when he had a first-look deal at Miramax. But the project became relatively dormant when he left the Mouse House — in large part because Disney sold Miramax and refocused on family-friendly films, leaving Rudin’s adult-skewing projects without a natural home.

“The Pet,” however, fits the Disney mold.

“The Simpsons” helmer David Silverman had been attached to the family comedy, and despite a recent rewrite from scribe Tim Dowling (“This Means War”), “The Pet” is now in the hands of Hess, who will oversee all aspects of creative development going forward.

The UTA-repped Hess’ recent credits include the Jack Black starrer “Nacho Libre” and 2009’s “Gentlemen Broncos.” He and wife Jerusha Hess are also exec producing Fox’s “Napoleon Dynamite” toon, based on the 2004 indie hit comedy.

Rudin just wrapped another busy awards season, having produced “Moneyball” and “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.”

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