Miramax ‘Enchanted’

Startz to produce pic based on Levine novel

Miramax Films has seized the film rights to the bestselling children’s book “Ella Enchanted” by Gail Carson Levine.

Jane Startz (“The Mighty”) and her Jane Startz Prods. is producing the project with co-producer Susan Miller of Momentum Partners, a property development and marketing company.

“We are excited to be working again with Jane Startz,” said Harvey Weinstein. ” ‘Ella Enchanted’ is a truly original take on a classic tale, and Jane Startz is the perfect partner for this material.”

‘Wildly inventive’

Startz added: “I am thrilled to be embarking on my second film fantasy adventure with Harvey, Julie Goldstein and the incredible Miramax team. ‘Ella Enchanted’ is a wildly inventive and funny book and Miramax has both the vision and courage to make sure these qualities will come shinning through in the film.”

“Ella” is the Cinderalla-like fantasy about a young girl who is given the gift of obedience by a misguided fairy and as a result she can’t refuse commands. In order to free herself and marry her ‘prince,’ she goes on a quest to undo the spell.

Jane Startz brought the project to Miramax, while Julie Goldstein, exec veep of production and development, and Michele Raimo, director of development, will oversee it for the company.

Charles Layton, exec veep in the office of the co-chairman, and Michael Luisi, senior veep of business affairs, negotiated on behalf of Miramax.

One of year’s best

Levine also wrote the recently published novel “Dave at Night,” which was chosen by Publisher’s Weekly as one of the 100 best books of 1999.

Startz formed her indie shingle, Jane Startz Prods., in 1997. She is the co-founder and was exec veep of Scholastic Prods., the film and television division of the young-adult publisher.

Startz produced SPI’s feature film effort and its first two motion pictures, “The Indian in the Cupboard” and “The Baby-Sitters Club.” She created and executive produced the multi-Emmy Award-winning television series “The Magical School Bus” for PBS, currently being broadcast on Fox Kids TV.

Susan Miller, prexy of Momentum Partners, recently completed television and publishing deals with Disney for World Champion figure skater Michelle Kwan and a deal with Random House for Olympic Gold Medalist Mary Lou Retton. She has also created a children’s book imprint with Scholastic for Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith.

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