Montecito, Gotham Group fall for 'Stargirl'


Montecito Pictures and the Gotham Group are looking skyward to bring Jerry Spinelli's seminal young-adult novel "Stargirl" to the big screen.

The book -- which centers on Stargirl Caraway, an eccentric, compassionate vegetarian at Mica Area High School in Arizona -- once was set up at Nickelodeon Movies. With more than 1 million copies in print, "Stargirl" is taught in most schools in the U.S. and is described as a bittersweet love story. Spinelli's sequel, "Love, Stargirl," will be published by Knopf in August.

The story is out to writers and directors.

Montecito's Jeff Clifford and Joe Medchuk are producing alongside Gotham's Ellen Goldsmith-Vein and Lindsay Williams. Montecito's Ivan Reitman and Tom Pollock are executive producing, and Gotham's Eddie Gamarra, who brought the material into Gotham, is co-producing. Ali Bell is shepherding the project for Montecito.

"We think this is the ultimate young-adult novel about falling in love, being in love and losing love," Goldsmith-Vein said.

Montecito most recently produced the boxoffice hit "Disturbia" for DreamWorks. Gotham's credits include the upcoming children's fantasy "The Spiderwick Chronicles," which will be released by Paramount Pictures in February.

Spinelli is repped by Gotham and attorney Peter Nichols.