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Universal has won a bidding war to pick up the rights to the book by Robert Munsch, with Banks attached to direct the project. Banks and Robbie will produce via their respective shingles, Brownstone Productions and LuckyChap Entertainment. Also producing will be Brownstone’s Max Handelman as well as LuckyChap’s Tom Ackerley along with Bryan Unkeless Clubhouse Pictures and Dan Krech.
Katie Silberman is attached to write the screenplay.
The aim is for Robbie to star, but that will depend on several factors, including the script and scheduling.
Published in 1980 with art by Michael Martchenko, The Paper Bag Princess told the story of a princess all set to marry her perfect Prince Charming when a dragon attacks the kingdom, kidnaps the prince and burns the castle. With no clothes left to wear, the princess dons a paper bag and sets out to vanquish the dragon. When she saves the prince, he ungratefully admonishes her for not looking like a princess. The girl then call him a “bum,” ditches him and dances into the sunset alone.
The best-selling book has earned praise for its reversal of gender stereotypes and its female empowerment message. Since its initial publication, The Paper Bag Princess has been reprinted 90 times, sold more than 10 million copies and translated into dozens of languages.
Alison Small will oversee the project for Brownstone and act as an exec producer. Vice president of production Sara Scott will oversee on behalf of Universal.
For Banks, the feminist fairy tale continues her goal of making stories with strong female voices and putting women in roles in front and behind the camera. She just partnered with YouTube on an initiative to create female-driven comedy, and also has several female-fronted shows in the works, including Step Strangers for Fox and Spirited for ABC.
Banks, who last directed Pitch Perfect 2, is also prepping to helm a new big-screen take on Charlie’s Angels for Sony. She is repped by UTA, Untitled Entertainment and Ziffren Brittenham.
Robbie next stars in I, Tonya, the buzzy biopic in which she portrays disgraced ice skater Tonya Harding. The movie, which the actress also produced with Unkeless, is generating awards chatter ahead of its Dec. 8 release. Robbie is repped by CAA, Management 360 and Jackoway Tyerman.
Silberman, who wrote Isn’t It Romantic, the upcoming Rebel Wilson comedy that skewers rom-coms, is repped by CAA, MXN Entertainment and Myman Greenspan.
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