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Patterson teams with Curious Pics

Studio to produce animation based on his work

Curious Pictures, the Gotham animation studio known for Disney’s “Little Einsteins,” is teaming with James Patterson Entertainment to produce longform animated media based on the author’s books, graphic novels and original concepts.

The pair’s first project is the film “Beer Belly and Fat Boy,” about a slacker who is secretly an assassin controlled by evil corporations. Like “300,” the pic will blend human actors with all-digital backgrounds, aiming squarely at the vidgame-and-comedy-inclined young male demo.

“This deal isn’t for studio-type projects, and it’s more on the art side than the live-action side,” said Curious partner Susan Holden. It will allow some Patterson properties that have languished to have a better chance at joining successful adaptations of his books such as “Kiss the Girls” and “Along Came a Spider,” she said.

Patterson will supply ideas and Curious will bring them to life visually, along with financing and distributing.

While Curious has a significant TV presence, having produced skeins including “Code Name: Kids Next Door” and “Sheep in the City” for Cartoon Network, the 14-year-old company is also active in advertising, vidgames and films. It is doing animation work for a toon Michel Gondry is co-directing with his son, Paul, an up-and-coming artist. The company also did sequences for 2007 Sundance opener “Chicago 10” and Morgan Spurlock’s upcoming Osama bin Laden doc.

Patterson’s development arm is headed by Steve Bowen, former prexy of ad giant J. Walter Thompson, where Patterson was once chief creative officer. The most recent Patterson-based title to hit the screen is ABC series “Women’s Murder Club.”

Bowen and Patterson knew Curious from their careers as ad men.

“We were looking for an independent studio that could develop graphic interpretations of our content,” Bowen said. “We felt there was a natural connection between our skill sets.”

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