EXCLUSIVE: Brenda Chapman, who directed the Sundance film Come Away, starring David Oyelowo, Angelina Jolie, and Michael Caine, will write and a direct live-action hybrid feature based on Claribel Ortega’s upcoming novel, Ghost Squad, which will be published by Scholastic.
Scholastic Entertainment, the media division of Scholastic, producer Josephson Entertainment (Enchanted, Aliens in the Attic, Life as We Know It)and ‘Twas Entertainment are developing and producing the project. The story follows Lucely and her best friend, Syd, two outcast kids living in the famously old St. Augustine, Florida. In efforts to right a past wrong-doing, the pair casts a spell that accidentally awakens malicious spirits right before Halloween. Together, they must join forces with Syd’s witchy grandmother, Babette, and her tubby tabby, Chunk, to fight the haunting head-on and reverse the curse to save the town – and Lucely’s firefly ancestors – before it’s too late.
The book is slated for release in April. Barry Josephson and D. Matt Geller will produce the adaptation on behalf of Josephson Entertainment along with Scholastic Entertainment’s Iole Lucchese and Caitlin Friedman. Kevin Lima and Josie Rosen are overseeing the project for ‘Twas Entertainment.
“We are so excited about bringing Ghost Squad to the big screen,” said Lucchese. “This standout book will be a huge hit with readers everywhere. We are delighted to be working with such high-caliber talent, including Brenda and Barry, to make this story come to life for kids and families everywhere.”
“I am thrilled to work with Scholastic, Josephson Entertainment and ’Twas Entertainment to bring to life the fantastical world created by Claribel Ortega,” said Chapman. “Her dynamic characters and the setting of St. Augustine make adapting Ghost Squad’ a unique and wonderful opportunity.”
“I’ve wanted to work with Brenda Chapman ever since our daughter Shira declared Brave’s ‘Merida’ her favorite kick-ass female character ever!” said Josephson. “We’re very fortunate that Scholastic has invited us to produce ‘Ghost Squad’ alongside them. We cannot wait to launch this completely original franchise.”
Chapman directed the DreamWorks Animation film, The Prince of Egypt, making her the first woman to direct an animation pic for a major studio, as well as and the Oscar-winning Disney/Pixar film Brave. She is repped by WME.