Walden taps helmer for 'Christmas' pic
Walden Media’s getting into the holiday spirit, tapping Andy Fickman to direct “Best Christmas Pageant Ever.”Fickman recently completed Walden’s “Parental Guidance,” starring Billy Crystal, Bette Midler and Marisa Tomei. Fox releases the pic Nov. 21. “Pageant” centers on a suburban slacker mom who gets roped into directing her town’s Christmas pageant and gets stuck with the “worst kids in the history of the world” as her cast. Gerald R. Molen, Chet Thomas and Darin McDaniel are producing with Fickman, Betsy Sullenger and Kelly Charles Crabb exec producing. Kristen Buckley and Brian Regan are scripting “Best Christmas Pageant Ever” based on the HarperCollins book of the same name by Barbara Robinson. Novella, originally published in McCall’s magazine in 1972, has been turned into a play, a TV movie and a book. Walden acquired the feature rights in 2010. Michael Bostick, CEO of Walden Media, will oversee along with Amanda Morgan Palmer and Carol Tang. Fickman’s recent directing credits include a trio of Disney titles — “You Again,” “Race to Witch Mountain” and “Game Plan.” Deal was negotiated by Frank H. Smith for Walden. Fickman is repped by WME.