Helmer Sylvain Chomet (“The Triplets of Belleville”) is attached to direct the animated feature film “Despereaux” at Universal.
“Seabiscuit” producers Gary Ross and Allison Thomas will produce via their U-based Larger Than Life Prods.
“Despereaux” has not yet attached a scribe, but a studio spokesman confirmed the pic will be based closely on Kate DiCamillo’s “Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread.”
U vice chair of worldwide production Mary Parent will oversee the project for the studio with VP Damien Saccani.
“Despereaux” follows several unlikely heroes: a misfit mouse who prefers reading books to eating them, the princess that he cherishes, a bumbling servant girl who longs to be a princess and an unhappy rat who schemes to leave the darkness of the dungeon. Having sold over 1 million copies and won the 2004 Newbery Medal for Children’s literature, book has resided comfortably on the New York Times bestseller list for 25 weeks since September 2003.
In March, Chomet’s Edinburgh-based animation stable, Studio Django, announced a pact with Dimension Films for an untitled project to be directed, written and produced by Chomet — Dimension’s first venture into animation. But in light of the emergence of the “Despereaux” project, the minimajor’s plans for that untitled animated pic are unclear.
Calls to Chomet’s reps were not returned late Monday.