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Paramount Pictures has acquired screen rights to “Stoneheart,” the first installment of a fantasy trilogy about ancient statues that come to life in London. Scott Rudin and Lorenzo di Bonaventura will produce.

Deal for rights and for author Charlie Fletcher to write the script was near seven figures.

British-born Fletcher spent time in Hollywood as screenwriter on such forgettable films as “Mean Machine” and the Cindy Crawford starrer “Fair Game.” He moved back to Britain and has been writing regularly on such BBC series as “Taggart” and “Afterlife.”

His novel will be published in the U.S. by Hyperion and by the Hachette-owned Hodder Children’s imprint in the U.K.

In “Stoneheart,” a shy 12-year-old on a class trip to London’s war museum knocks the head off a stone dragon and quickly finds himself menaced by stone serpents that adorned the museum and have come to life. The kid is saved by the bronze statue of a soldier. “It’s a concept that has been working around my head since I was 6, since I went to Hyde Park and saw the large war memorial with this spectacular sculpture of this WWI soldier who just looks tired, exhausted and heroic,” Fletcher said.

When ICM sent out the book, both Rudin and di Bonaventura wanted it. They decided to work together, even though Rudin is slowly transitioning from Par into an overall Disney deal.

Fletcher said he is already halfway through writing the second novel and will deliver the adaptation of “Stoneheart” later this year.