EXCLUSIVE: Paramount Pictures has adopted Clifford The Big Red Dog, after Universal Pictures put the pooch to the curb. Paramount sparked to a pitch by Justin Malen, who’ll write the script for a film that will be a live-action/CG hybrid.
Universal had developed it for years, and even once dated the picture for release in early 2016. When Silvertongue Films’ Deb Forte decided to take the material in a new direction, Universal let the option lapse. Clifford was launched in 1963 as a book series that follows the adventures of Emily Elizabeth, a young denizen of a rural island community who gets a red puppy for her birthday that grows to the rather unusual size of 25 feet tall. It spawned an animated PBS series.
Malen’s scripting credits include a trio of films that are in postproduction: the Larry Sher-directed Bastards, which stars Owen Wilson and Ed Helms for Montecito and Warner Bros, a script Malen sold as a spec; he also did rewrite work on Paramount’s Baywatch and the DreamWorks pic Office Christmas Party.
Malen is repped by Verve, DMG Entertainment and McKuin, Frankel & Whitehead.