EXCLUSIVE: Paul Feig, best known for R-rated comedies from Bridesmaids to Spy and The Heat, will bring those sensibilities to a venerable children’s book. He’s attached to direct and is part of a Fox package to turn The Sweetest Fig into a film. That is the illustrated kid book by Chris Van Allsburg, whose works have been previously transformed into the Sony hit Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle, as well as Polar Express.
It’s the first acquisition since Fox made an overall deal with Van Allsburg and partners William Teitler, Mike Weber and Ted Field, who’ll produce with Feigco’s Jessie Henderson.
Published in 1993, the story takes place in Paris and focuses on Monsieur Bibot, a wealthy dentist who lives alone in a fancy apartment with his dog Marcel, whom he often mistreats. After Bibot removes the rotting tooth of an impoverished old woman with a pair of pliers and no novocaine, he becomes enraged when she doesn’t have cash to pay him.
Instead she gives him two figs which she claims will make his dreams come true. He scoffs at her, but after eating one as a midnight snack, he finds his dream did come true and he is actually walking his dog in his underwear, and the Eiffel Tower has drooped to one side. The dentist sets himself to do a better job before eating the second fig, plotting to become France’s wealthiest man. But after his dog gobbles down the fig as it sits on the table, the dentist awakens the next morning — under his bed. He has taken the form of his dog, and he realizes that the fig eating Marcel’s dream has come true. He has gotten revenge on his cruel master by taking over his body. And the former dentist-turned-dog can only bark when he’s leashed for his daily walk.
CAA reps Feig.