Disney takes a ‘Lap’

'Today Show's' Leonard sells family comedy

The Walt Disney Co. has paid mid-six against low-seven figures to buy a feature treatment and the underlying feature film rights to manuscript “The Last Lap” from writer Mike Leonard.

Disney-based producers Rachel Pfeffer, Jennifer Gibgot and Adam Shankman will produce the pic.

Comedy is based on the true story of Leonard, a Chicago-based feature correspondent for NBC’s “The Today Show” who drops everything to rent an RV to travel across America for a month with his funny and eccentric elderly parents to see the places and people who shaped their lives. Riding behind them in another RV are Leonard’s three grown children. Journey ends with the birth of Leonard’s granddaughter.

Shankman is eyeing project to direct. Pic will be produced by Pfeffer’s Pfeffer Film and Shankman’s Offspring Entertainment..

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Offspring exec Matt Mizel will co-produce with Pfeffer Film exec Asha Kurian. Universal-based Kevin Misher, which also bid on the story, will exec produce. Buena Vista Motion Pictures Group prexy Nina Jacobson will oversee pic with senior VP Karen Glass.

Material was featured on 4-minute segments on “The Today Show.”

Leonard, repped by APA, will not pen screenplay but will be a consultant on the pic.

His book “The Last Lap” secured a seven-figure publishing deal from Ballantine and is due out in 2006.