Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Elton John’s Rocket Pictures has acquired film rights to Michael Buckley’s bestselling series Nerds, and will develop them as an animated family feature that Buckley will script. Rocket Pictures principals Steve Hamilton Shaw and David Furnish will produce. John is exec producer.

The Nerds series follows a group of unpopular and socially inept geeks who run a spy network from inside their elementary school. They battle the Hyena, a former junior beauty pageant contestant-turned-assassin, and an array of James Bond-style villains, each with an evil plan more diabolical and more ridiculous than the last. Three books have been released in the past two years by the Abrams imprint Amulet Books, and the next one comes in the fall.

“Nerds is an action-filled comedic property with a great inclusive message at its heart,” Shaw said. “We think it has huge potential as a dynamic and modern family movie.” Rocket Pictures most recently produced the 3D animated Disney movie Gnomeo & Juliet and is developing Will Gallows And The Snake Bellied Troll, written and to be directed by Shrek 2’s Kelly Asbury. The company’s also developing Rocketman, a biographical musical-fantasy feature film about the life of Elton John that’s being written by Lee Hall. UTA reps Rocket Pictures and also brokered the book deal with publishing agent Alison Fargis of Stonesong.

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