HandMade tale: 'Eloise' first pic at reborn shingle

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British director Nigel Cole has taken the helm of a feature adaptation based on classic children's character Eloise, the first project planned from the new-look HandMade Films stable, the company said Monday.

Cole will direct "Eloise in Paris" from a Janet Brownell and Erin Joslyn script adapted from the children's book of the same name, written by Kay Thompson and illustrated by Hilary Knight.

The live-action film is scheduled to shoot this year on location in Paris, New York and London for release in spring 2008. HandMade Films International, a new division responsible for the global sales, distribution and marketing of new HandMade productions, will handle worldwide sales.

The film will be produced by Patrick Meehan and Thomas D. Adelman, whose credits include two previous "Eloise" telefilms for the Wonderful World of Disney series.

HandMade, the newly invigorated, long-dormant production label founded by late ex-Beatle George Harrison in the 1970s, acquired film, television, music and merchandising rights to all "Eloise"-titled properties in 2002.

The company says it hopes "Eloise in Paris" is the first movie in a feature film franchise from the five books penned.

Cole said that, despite "Eloise" being created in the 1950s, the character "is in many ways the embodiment of a modern girl — independent, resourceful, spirited and inquisitive."

Added HandMade Films managing director Antony Rufus Isaacs: "(Cole) has the ability to bring 'Eloise' to the big screen in true style and with due reverence to Kay Thompson's classic character."

HandMade's library contains 105 movies, among them such Brit classics as "Mona Lisa," "The Long Good Friday" and "Time Bandits."
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