Kid stuff: 'Franny' set for big screen


East of Doheny has optioned Jim Benton's best-selling "Franny K. Stein" kids book series and will team with the Gotham Group to bring an animated film based on the franchise to the big screen.

Up first will be "Franny K. Stein, Mad Scientist," which follows the exploits of the girl scientist and includes tongue-in-cheek references to classic monster and sci-fi movies.

East of Doheny's Kelly Gonda and Tracey Trench will produce, while Gotham's Ellen Goldsmith-Vein will executive produce alongside Julie Kane-Ritch and Benton.

The "Franny K. Stein" series includes six books, with a seventh scheduled to be published next year by Simon & Schuster.

"Franny's stories are essentially about being yourself and maintaining your individuality in a world that pushes for conformity," Gonda said. "The tone will be broadly funny but with real emotion."

There is no screenwriter or director attached yet.

Michigan-based writer Benton also is the author of the "Dear Dumb Diary" and "It's Happy Bunny" series. Franny K. Stein is the first character he has created for young children.

"We're delighted that Jim Benton's magical 'Franny K. Stein' has found a good home at East of Doheny," said Goldsmith-Vein, Gotham's CEO and president.

Indie production company East of Doheny is in preproduction on Wendelin Van Draanan's young-adult novel "Flipped," which is being adapted for the big screen by Nora and Delia Ephron. Gotham's credits include the upcoming kids film "The Spiderwick Chronicles," which is based on the best-selling series of fantasy books written by Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi and is set up at Paramount with Nickelodeon Movies.