EXCLUSIVE: Walden Media has optioned screen rights to Ungifted, a Gordon Korman novel that will be published fall 2012 through the Balzer + Bray imprint of HarperCollins. Korman is the author of two installments of the 39 Clues series that DreamWorks is developing as a film. Ungifted is the story of a 14-year-old kid of average intelligence who’s accidentally placed in a school of gifted students and tries to hide among the brainiacs to escape punishment for a prank he pulled at his old school. He eventually shakes up the uptight, socially awkward advanced students and learns something about his own capabilities. Walden’s Amanda Morgan Palmer and Michael Bostick brought in the book and will hire a writer shortly. The author was repped by Curtis Brown. Walden Media has become quite active, attaching Jennifer Lopez to Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego, setting Get Low helmer Aaron Schneider to direct The Conscientious Objector, and getting ready to wrap the Gerard Butler-Jonny Weston surf movie Of Men And Mavericks, which Curtis Hanson directed with help from Michael Apted, who helmed the last 15 shooting days because of a health issue for Hanson. Korman’s repped by Curtis Brown Ltd.
EXCLUSIVE: Walden Media has acquired rights to turn Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego? into a live-action film involving Jennifer Lopez. I’d heard that Walden Media will develop the property as a vehicle for Lopez to play the title character, but Walden Media said at this point, she’s attached to produce only. The hope is to turn the property into National Treasure meets The Thomas Crown Affair. The logline: When the ACME agency’s greatest detective Carmen Sandiego becomes the world’s greatest thief, it’s up to her former partner to follow her clues and track her down. Their cat-and-mouse game leads the partner to confront a greater mystery: Is Carmen really a thief or a hero? The property originated as an educational computer game before it was turned into an animated TV series.
The film will be produced by Lopez and her Nuyorican Productions’ partners Benny Medina and Simon Fields, and Underground Films’ Nick Osbourne, Trevor Engelson and Devin Andre. Walden Media CEO Michael Bostick and SVP Evan Turner are steering the property after it was acquired from Hougton Mifflin. The property fits into Walden Media’s mandate to create properties that challenge kids; Carmen Sandiego is used as a teaching tool in more than half of elementary schools nationwide. The project tried the movie route once before; Disney optioned it in the late 1990s and developed a version for Sandra Bullock, but it never went anywhere.
EXCLUSIVE: Walden Media has acquired film rights to Flat Stanley, the series of children’s books created in 1964 by Jeff Brown about the adventures of a two-dimensional person stuck in a 3D world. The plan is to shoot the film live action, using visual effects to turn the lead character into a one-dimensional hero (why do I feel like I’ve given Deadline commenters a wealth of ammunition to discuss the current state of 3D and certain leading actors with those last two sentences?)
The protagonist is Stanley Lambchop, who, after being given a bulletin board by his father to put above his bed, is flattened by it in the night. He’s OK despite his appearance and can slip under doors and entertain his brother by posing as a kite. He even solves an art heist by posing as a wall painting. The series has sold millions of copies around the world. The film will be produced by John Carls and his Wild Things Productions banner. Carls’ credits include Where The Wild Things Are as well as Rango. Walden Media CEO Michael Bostick and senior veep Evan Turner set up the project and are meeting with filmmakers for the adaptation.