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'Smallville' duo to write 'Monster High' film

Universal project is based on a new Mattel property

Writers Alfred Gough and Miles Millar are switching their milieu from superheroes and the male demo to monsters, musicals and tween girls.

The duo, best known for bringing "Smallville" to television and for the movies "Shanghai Noon" and "Spider-Man 2," are coming aboard to script Universal's "Monster High," based on a new Mattel property. The monster musical is set at "frighteningly fashionable" Monster High and features the spawn of famous monsters including Dracula, Frankenstein and the Wolfman undergoing the trials and tribulations of high school.

After years of making toys based on other companies' properties or movies, Mattel this summer is launching its first in-house brand created from scratch, pushing "Monster" through a combination of books, webisodes, animation as well as toys, apparel and accessories. And no entertainment line today can be complete without the all-but-inevitable live-action movie.

Neil Meron and Craig Zadan are producing with Tim Kilpin and Barry Waldo for Mattel. Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman are in talks to write and compose the music for the pic which is taking a musical approach that will be part "Beetlejuice" and part "The Addams Family."

Bringing this scenario to script will be the job of Gough and Millar. On the surface, the duo seem an odd choice for the material. They broke into the film business with "Lethal Weapon 4," the 1998 installment of the Mel Gibson franchise, establishing themselves as writers of action with a comedic flair. In addition to acting as showrunners on "Smallville," they wrote "Shanghai Noon," "Shanghai Knights," "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor" and "I Am Number Four," an adaptation of James Frey and Jobie Hughes' young-adult novel that is in preproduction at DreamWorks.

But the CAA-repped writers recently have been more in touch with their feminine side. They produced last year's "Hannah Montana: The Movie," which sang its way to almost $80 million at the domestic boxoffice, and are developing and writing a tele¬vision pilot for a revamp of "Charlie's Angels."