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U, Playtone book ‘Amelia’ playdate

Hank, Goetzman team on kiddie classic

In a seven-figure deal that took two years to complete, Universal and Playtone partners Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman will turn children’s book series “Amelia Bedelia” into a live-action feature.

Herman Parish, nephew of “Amelia Bedelia” creator Peggy Parish, will write the script. He has continued writing the 40-year-old series since his aunt’s death in 1988. Hanks and Goetzman will produce.

“Amelia Bedelia” revolves around a housekeeper whose literal interpretations of instructions left by her employers always leads to trouble. Peggy Parish was an English teacher who began writing the series in 1963 to teach young students that words aren’t always meant to be taken literally. U senior veep Holly Bario will shepherd the project.

Deal marks another major children’s book adaptation for Hanks and Goetzman, who are coming off “Polar Express” and are readying “Ant Bully” for a CGI animation pic for Warner Bros. for summer 2006.

Also at U, Playtone has Spike Jonze directing an adaptation of the Maurice Sendak kid classic “Where the Wild Things Are,” once Jonze finishes writing the script with author Dave Eggers.

Playtone and Walden Media are adapting Jeanne DuPrau young adult book “The City of Ember,” written by Caroline Thompson (“Edward Scissorhands”) and directed by Gil Kenan. Latter is helming Sony’s stop-motion pic “Monster House,” produced by Robert Zemeckis and Steven Spielberg.

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