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Heyman, Studiocanal set Paddington pic

CGI live-action pic to be helmed by Paul King

PARIS Studiocanal is teaming with “Harry Potter” producer David Heyman on “Paddington Bear,” a CGI live-action movie of Michael Bond’s best-selling children’s books.

Brit helmer Paul King, BAFTA-nommed for British TV comedy series “Come Fly With Me” and “The Mighty Boosh,” will direct. Studiocanal will finance and distribute in the U.K., France and Germany, and handle world sales elsewhere in a now tried-and-tested practice with its production partners.

“Paddington” is one of Studiocanal’s most ambitious projects to date.

Drawing inspiration from the book series first published in 1958, the currently untitled movie is described as a modern take on Paddington, a talking, accident-prone young bear from Darkest Peru who’s found at Paddington Station and adopted by a London family.

Paddington books have sold more than 35 million copies in 40 languages.

A Heyman passion project, a Paddington movie was first set up at Warner Bros. in 2007.

Heyman said, “Paddington Bear is a universally loved character, treasured for his optimism, his sense of fair play and his perfect manners — and of course for his unintentional talent for comic chaos.

Michael Bond’s books offer such wit and wonder, and I am so delighted at this chance to bring Paddington to the big screen.”

Studiocanal chairman-CEO Olivier Courson, added, “David Heyman has had tremendous success adapting great British literary works for cinema.”

For Studiocanal, Paddington is a major step-up in its drive into family entertainment. It bought Ben Stassen’s Brussels-based nWave 3D studio in 2010 and saw great success with the Stassen-helmed toon “Sammy’s Adventures,” which grossed $75 million worldwide.

Joann Sfar and “Rango” producer John Carls are working on English-language 3D toon feature “Little Vampire” for Studiocanal. Another toon, “Ernest and Celestine,” will play Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight.

According to Courson, few family features hit the indie market. In March, he described British family comedies with universal appeal as a production priority for Studiocanal.

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