Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Night At The Museum co-writer Robert Ben Garant has just been set by Disney to write Tux, an adaptation of the Japanese graphic novel Tuxedo Gin. The film will be produced by Principato-Young’s Paul Young and Peter Principato, VIZ Media’s Jason Hoffs, and Shogakukan’s Ichiro Takase. The rights to the Tokihiko Matsuura-created Japanese property, which were controlled by Shogakukan in Japan and VIZ Media in the US, took almost two years to close. The talks actually started before Rich Ross and Sean Bailey took over the studio.

Ross and Bailey have been veering away from talking animal films but made an exception here. The graphic novel has that element, but there is also a gritty storyline. The protagonist is a young street fighter who falls into a coma and learns that he has lived his life so selfishly that he only has enough karma points to be reincarnated as an animal 15 pounds or less. Trapped in the body of a chin-strap penguin, he tries to overcome the humiliation and rack up enough good deeds to get his old body back and save the girl he loves.

Garant, who’ll be exec producer along with Isamu Kamei, usually writes with Thomas Lennon, his partner on Night at the Museum, The Pacifier and co-creator and co-star of Reno 911. They continue as a team and have several projects together, including the Vin Diesel-starrer The Machine at MGM. CAA and Principato-Young rep Garant.