Twentieth Century Fox has tapped Michael Di Jiacomo to pen the adaptation of “The Light Princess,” based on the fairy tale by George Macdonald.
Though the project has been set up at Fox for several months, it had, until recently, been an open writing assignment. Di Jiacomo will be the first writer to tackle the screenplay, which is being developed as a future directing outing for “Mousehunt” helmer Gore Verbinski.
Maurice Sendak, who illustrated a 1969 edition of “The Light Princess,” and John B. Carls are producing the project, a contemporary adaptation of Macdonald’s Victorian fairy tale. Verbinski is expected to receive a producing credit as well.
Sendak and Carls are also co-producing, with Verbinski and Tom Hanks, a feature adaptation of Sendak’s “Where the Wild Things Are” at Universal.
Story follows a princess who is cursed by a mean, jealous witch so that she has no gravity, an affliction that affects her ability to feel real emotions. Fox is looking to update the story, transforming into a romantic coming of age tale set in Northern California and focusing on the awkwardness of adolescence and the painful process of maturing and coming into one’s own.
Hutch Parker is overseeing the project for 20th.
Di Jiacomo, who was repped on the deal by ICM’s Jeff Gorin, made his feature helming debut on 1998’s “Animals,” an indie pic starring Tim Roth and Mili Avital that he also wrote. An alum of NYU’s graduate film program and a former writing-directing fellow at the Sundance Institute, Di Jiacomo also penned “The Man Who Stole the Mona Lisa” for Phoenix Pictures.