Universal Picks Up 'The Nutcracker'

Peter Chernin and Dylan Clark, of “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” will produce.

The Nutcracker is getting ready to dance again.

Universal has picked up a pitch for a new adaptation of the classic tale of The Nutcracker and the Mouse King.

Titled The Nutcracker, like the known Tchaikovsky ballet, the new take comes from John Mann and Jon Gunn and will be produced by Peter Chernin and Dylan Clark, whose Rise of the Planet of the Apes opens August 5.

The story centers on a 12-year-old girl who, with her brother and sister, receive gifts from their clockmaker-inventor godfather on Christmas Eve, one of which is a Nutcracker doll. That night, the girl begins an adventure that includes a war involving a seven-headed Mouse King and his army of mice, curses and themes of ugliness and beauty.

The goal is to make a live-action adventure move. Universal’s director of development Maradith Frenkel  will oversee the project for the studio. This is the second known live-action Nutcracker project set up at a studio, the first one being written by Darren Lemke, produced by Temple Hill (Twilight Saga) and set up at New Line in 2009. (With the studio in a tit-for-tat race with Relativity on Snow White movies, and now this, it seems like Universal likes challenges.) Mann and Gunn are developing Boo U. for DreamWorks Animation and a feature based on the Magic 8 Ball toy for Paramount. The duo are repped by WME and Mosaic.