×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Twits’ pic pleases Cleese

BV's Jacobson, Burr to oversee development

John Williams’ Disney-based Vanguard Films has just sold a pitch to the studio based on the Roald Dahl classic illustrated children’s book “The Twits.”

Script will be written by John Cleese (“Fierce Creatures”) and Kirk De Micco (“Quest for Camelot”). Story revolves around Mr. and Mrs. Twit, the two nastiest people in the world, who play mean practical jokes on each other and mastermind elaborate heists along with their crew of trained animals — that is, until one day, when the animals turn the tables on the Twits, framing their ungrateful owners for what was to have been their ultimate heist and living out their days uncaged in South America.

Buena Vista Motion Pictures Group president Nina Jacobson will oversee pic’s development with director of development Kristen Burr.

Studio recently contracted with Vanguard for a multipicture CGI/animation deal, the first pic of which is “Valiant,” currently in production (Daily Variety, Sept. 9).

Williams’ credits include animated hit “Shrek,” the upcoming “Shrek 2” and the recently released Jackie Chan starrer “The Tuxedo” — all through his first-look live-action production deal at DreamWorks.

Dahl is the author of such classics as “James and the Giant Peach” and “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” — both of which were turned into pics in 1996 and 1971, respectively. Dahl, who died in 1990, penned the screenplay to “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory” himself.

Williams said, “We are aiming at a return to the wicked fun of ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,’ ‘Ruthless People’ — and the whole body of work represented by John Cleese.”

Cleese, in a statement, said: “When my daughter Camilla was about 8, it was absolutely our favorite book to read,” but while “The Twits” was “great on character, (it was) just short on plot. So Kirk and I worked up a scenario that we thought was funny, and happily so did Disney.”

Cleese is repped by CAA, De Micco by the Gersh Agency.

More Film

  • WGA Writers Contract Talks

    Talent Agents, WGA Achieve Progress in Second Round of Talks

    Hollywood talent agents and the Writers Guild of America have achieved some progress at their second negotiating session over agency regulations, according to sources close to the talks. The two sides met Tuesday, two weeks after their first meeting resulted in both sides criticizing each other, followed by the WGA holding a trio of spirited [...]

  • Aaron Paul

    Film News Roundup: Aaron Paul Honored by Sun Valley Film Festival

    In today’s film news roundup, Aaron Paul is honored, Bruce Berman is re-upped at Village Roadshow, and Paola Mendoza and Abby Sher get a book deal. FESTIVAL HONORS The Sun Valley Film Festival has selected Idaho native and three-time Emmy winner Aaron Paul as the winner of its Pioneer Award, presented by Variety for his [...]

  • Olivia Munn]EMILY'S List Pre-Oscars Brunch, Inside,

    Olivia Munn Says Brett Ratner Called Her Before His 'Howard Stern' Apology

    Olivia Munn is setting the record straight about standing up to “Rush Hour” director Brett Ratner, whom she alleges sexually harassed her over a decade ago. During a panel discussion at the Emily’s List pre-Oscars brunch at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills Tuesday morning, Munn revealed that Ratner called her in 2011 after he denied [...]

  • Flesh Out review

    Berlin Film Review: 'Flesh Out'

    Ignore the awful English-language title: “Flesh Out” is an emotionally rich, sensitively made film about a young woman in Mauritania forced to gain weight in order to conform to traditional concepts of well-rounded beauty before her impending marriage. Strikingly registering the sensations of a protagonist living between the dutiful traditions of her class and the [...]

  • Marighella review

    Berlin Film Review: 'Marighella'

    Does Brazil need a film that openly advocates armed confrontation against its far-right government? That’s the first question that needs to be asked when discussing “Marighella,” actor Wagner Moura’s directorial debut focused on the final year in the life of left-wing insurrectionist Carlos Marighella during Brazil’s ruthless military dictatorship. For whatever one might think of [...]

  • Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his Night

    ‘How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World’ Again Tops Studios’ TV Ad Spending

    In this week’s edition of the Variety Movie Commercial Tracker, powered by the TV ad measurement and attribution company iSpot.tv, DreamWorks Animation claims the top spot in spending for the second week in a row with “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World.” Ads placed for the fantasy film had an estimated media value [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content