EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros. has nailed down the spec Hammerspace from writer Mike Van Waes for what sources say was a mid-six figure deal. The project is said to be a live-action/animation hybrid about a terminallyy-ill teenager who, while searching for answers about his missing father, finds a mysterious key that unlocks a portal to an alternate animated dimension, releasing an unexpected new friend who helps him repair his broken family.

The term ‘hammerspace’ actually comes from an anime sight gag where a character produces a hammer out of thin air and clunks someone on the head for a brief moment in time for a laugh.

Dan Lin is producing the project with Jonathan Eirich exec producing from their Lin Pictures. WB prod execs Courtenay Valenti (who brought the property into the studio) and Racheline Benveniste will oversee the development for the studio.

Van Waes began his career as an assistant at The Jim Henson Company before jumping to the story department at DreamWorks where he worked as a story analyst. He has worked in that role also at  Paramount Vantage and Paramount Pictures. He is also the writer and artist behind the semi-autobiographical webcomic Vexed Wisecracker.

His feature Grave Hearts was a 2014 Academy Nicholl Fellowships in screenwriting finalist. His feature The Shivers was a 2014 Tracking Board Launch Pad finalist and was featured on the 2014 Hit List.

CAA and manager Zac Frognowski at Grandview rep Van Waes.