Shadyac, Uni buy into 'Sensitive' act

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Universal Pictures has acquired "Dr. Sensitive," a high-concept comedy spec script from newcomer Ben Frahm. Tom Shadyac will produce via his Universal-based Shady Acres with an eye toward directing.

Producing alongside Shadyac are his partner Michael Bostick and Underground Films’ Nick Osborne.

The plot is known to be in the same vein as Shadyac’s 1997 hit "Liar Liar" and involves an insensitive doctor.

Underground’s Trevor Engelson is executive producing, and the company’s William Lowry will co-produce.

Amanda Morgan Palmer is overseeing for Shady Acres. Holly Bario is shepherding for Universal.

Frahm's script was unearthed by Osborne the old-fashioned way: in a stack of scripts and off a query letter. The aspiring scribe had arrived from Ithaca, N.Y., a couple of years ago and made ends meet by working as a special-needs teacher at a middle school.

Frahm wrote a draft of the script and made the rounds with production companies, some of which expressed interest in his idea but wanted to give it to more established writers to handle, leaving him with a “story by” credit. Frahm didn't bite.

Osborne worked with Frahm for a year honing the script before teaming with Shady Acres, which also had a hand in developing it before taking it to Universal. Frahm, who was making less than $20,000 a year, found himself with a deal in the mid-six figures.

Underground was one of the companies behind this summer's "License to Wed." The company is executive producing the Sandra Bullock starrer "All About Steve," which is in production.

Shadyac most recently directed "Evan Almighty" and was a producer on "I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry." He is repped by CAA.

Frahm is repped by CAA, Underground and attorney Dave Feldman.
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