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John August, who just two weeks ago lamented on his screenwriting blog that his long-gestating “Shazam!” project at Warners hit a roadblock, suddenly has plenty of irons in the fire.
August has booked a pair of gigs that will see him working with top-flight directors: He’s set to write “Frankenweenie” for Tim Burton and Disney after first tackling the comic book adaptation “Preacher” for Sam Mendes and Columbia.
“Frankenweenie” is based on a comedic horror short that Burton made in 1984 while a film school student. The story tells of a man who brings his dog back to life after it is killed by a car.
While the original “Frankenweenie” was a live-action project, the new one will be made using stop-motion animation and be in 3-D. Like the original, the feature version is to be shot in black & white. Burton is producing, and many of the animation artists and crew from the director’s “Corpse Bride” will be involved, with the studio aiming for a 2011 release.
Allison Abbate will produce with Burton as she did on “Corpse Bride.” Don Hahn will exec produce.
“Preacher” is based on the popular 1990s DC/Vertigo series created by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon. It tells the story of a down-and-out Texas preacher, given immense powers, who teams up with a former girlfriend and a hard-drinking Irish vampire and sets out on a journey across America to find God — who apparently had abandoned his duties in heaven — and hold him accountable for his negligence.
Neal Moritz is producing through his Original Films banner along with Kickstart Prods.’ Jason Netter.
“Frankenweenie” will mark UTA-repped August’s fifth collaboration with Burton. The two worked on “Big Fish,” “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “Corpse Bride” and have “Dark Shadows,” set up at Warners with Johnny Depp attached to star, in the wings.
“Shazam,” meanwhile, remains in development at Warners and is looking for writers.
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