Scribe grants 'Jeannie's' wish

Rita Hsiao to rewrite 1960s adaptation script

If the world of "I Dream of Jeannie" really existed, Sid Ganis could just ask a genie to "blink" a new script.

Instead, Ganis is bringing aboard "Mulan" scribe Rita Hsiao to rewrite the script for the big-screen adaptation of the 1960s series. Ganis is producing through his Out of the Blue Entertainment shingle along with Alex Siskin. Bob Simonds and Phoenix New Millennium's Michael Viner are exec producers.

Hsiao is the latest to take a stab at the script for the long-planned project. At least five others have penned scripts, including husband and wife writing duo Cormac and Marianne Wibberley.

Ganis said the writer delivered producers a pitch that seemed as if she had been living with "Jeannie's" family of characters.

"She has a terrific, bright, fresh approach to Jeannie's story, with a twist and turn along the way," Ganis said of Hsiao. "She captured all of our imaginations in the telling of it."

Hsiao created a Jeannie that is "smack in the middle" of contemporary times and circumstances, he added.

The project is the latest rewrite for Hsiao, who was brought aboard by Disney to rewrite 2007's "Enchanted" and by Columbia for the 2004 romantic comedy "13 Going on 30."

The feature-length "Jeannie" has been sitting on the sidelines for years, but Ganis makes no apology for how long the adaptation has been in the works.

"This is such a beloved and iconic character that it has to be told the right way," he said. "You have a loyalty to the character that has to exist, and sometimes it takes time to get there."

Ganis said once the script is in place, they'll work on a director (Gurinder Chadha is no longer attached) and a cast.

Hsiao is repped by Endeavor.
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